Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will not be able to dance around foreign policy problems she helped set in motion as secretary of state in the first Obama administration, said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Republican presidential contender told radio host Hugh Hewitt
that Clinton would try to dissociate herself from today's Middle East mess, Politico
reported. Many of the region's current problems were rooted in the time she was secretary of state in Barack Obama's first administration.
"The pullback began then. The reset with Russia. The discussions with Syria
; the red line — all these things created the beginnings of what we're now seeing," said Bush.
On Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, Bush said he disagreed with continuing negotiations if the aim was not focused on how to stop Iran from enriching uranium.
"But now, we've negotiated downward to the point where we're now talking about breakouts; we're talking about vague assurances of verification. We're talking about allowing them to enrich uranium inside, and store it inside their own country."
He said that as the talks had proceeded in Switzerland, Tehran and its surrogates were roiling the region. President Obama seemed interested in "cutting a deal with Iran" while treating Israel "with incredible disrespect," said Bush.
Were he president, he told Hewitt, he would try to "tighten up the sanctions" while rebuilding Washington's relationships with its traditional Arab allies. When the U.S. "pulled back," it made way for "people that want to create great instability and harm to the United States."
On Russia, Bush characterized Vladimir Putin as "a ruthless pragmatist." He suggested that he would bolster NATO, provide defensive weapons to Ukraine, and impose additional sanctions if warranted by Kremlin policy.
Hewitt asked what Bush would do if Putin invaded one of the Baltic states with a large Russian-speaking population.
"What I'm saying is that if we're not serious about Article 5
, then we ought to have shut down NATO. And I think shutting down NATO would be a disaster," said Bush.
The Article 5 that Bush referred to stipulates that if a NATO ally is the victim of armed aggression, the alliance "shall" consider it as an attack
against the U.S. or another NATO member.
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