Third Party & Independents Archives

What Rubio Thinks of George W. Who Thinks Little of Cruz

Rubio has basically taken over Bush’s campaign and more to the point, his policies. No, not Jeb. This would be George W. Bush that Rubio seems to be getting closer and closer to. Maybe it’s the result of G. W.’s plain spoken dislike of Rubio’s big rival, Ted Cruz. The enemy of my enemy etc. Or maybe it’s about Iraq, after all. And how to deal with ISIS.

At least that's the emerging editorial line in some quarters. And it's an interesting point. Rubio is no Tea Party candidate, it seems clear to anyone by now. Ted Cruz is THE Tea Party candidate. And Rubio seems to be betting that the GOP and Republican voters, still have a very positive view of G.W. and his two-term presidency.

Is that the case as we end 2015?

The fulcrum issue is foreign policy of course. Concerns over ISIS have risen to the point where arguing over whether the Iraq war was necessary is a diversion. But behind the raging debate of how to keep America safe from the latest mutation of islamic terrorism is the nagging question: should Saddam Hussein's brutal regime been left in place?

Or more to the point: was the talk of nation building an honest policy proposal or a convenient way to think about a post-Saddam Iraq? A way to show what the future would be like, because Saddam was going to be toppled come hell or high water. And that meant cleaning up the mess he left behind with a new quasi democratic state based on tribal/ethnic coalitions.

The mess turned out otherwise. But whether ISIS would have emerged anyway is an impossible theoretical. The Taliban emerged in the post-Soviet Afghanistan, but militant islam has been building for a long time. It is hard to say what would have been. And it is hard to say which policy works in the Middle East when any given policy usually lasts far less than a presidential cycle.

Maybe Harvard's sneering Scottish academic Niall Ferguson was right after all when he chided America for not having a British long term commitment to it's overseas interests.

But one doesn't have to think like a Victorian Viceroy to lament the lack of consistency in America's foreign policy. And Obama's abilities here are perhaps a nadir - to use an arabic term - in that respect: the righteous feel-good mushiness that not even an NGO would find useful overseas in the field.

Will that be a deciding factor if the nomination contest ends up being between Rubio and Cruz? Their take on G.W.'s foreign policy in the Middle East? It's a fascinating question and one that voters will have the chance to answer in the coming months.

Posted by AllardK at December 10, 2015 3:16 PM
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