Former president George W. Bush spoke out against the Obama administration’s handling of foreign policy over the weekend in a meeting with Republican donors, delivering a rare set of remarks on the United States’ Middle East policy.
Mr. Bush did not criticize the president directly, according to the New York Times, but made comments that were interpreted as highly critical of the Obama administration by the 700 donors who were attending the closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Bush reportedly said that the United States must show it can keep its promises before arguing against the lifting of sanctions that have been levied against Iran. The former president argued that retaining sanctions would give American negotiators greater leverage as they work to prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 27, 2015
According to Bloomberg View, former president Bush also asserted that the Obama administration’s plan to ease sanctions against Iran with the understanding that they could be re-established at any time, was not a plausible outcome.
“You think the Middle East is chaotic now? Imagine what it looks like for our grandchildren. That’s how Americans should view the deal.”
In criticizing his successor’s handling of the Middle East, Bush described the Islamic State as Al Qaeda’s “second act.” Defending his administration’s record on terror, Bush quoted Senator Lindsey Graham, calling the decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq in 2011 a “strategic blunder.” Bush, however, signed an agreement to withdraw those troops while still in office, in the hopes that a new status of forces document could be negotiated.
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) April 27, 2015
While critiquing the Obama Administration’s handling of Iraq, Bush referenced his decision in 2007 to increase troop levels in the country, asserting that his administration changed their plans in Iraq when it became clear that their strategy wasn’t working. Bush also alleged that President Obama had promised to destroy the Islamic State, but hasn’t developed a plan to follow through on that goal, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“In order to be an effective president… when you say something you have to mean it,” Bush claimed. “You gotta kill em.”
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 27, 2015
Bush also touched on the subject of his brother Jeb’s likely White House run. Saying that he would be a distraction if he spoke out too much in public, George W. acknowledged that his brother would face an uphill battle to the nomination, as Americans don’t like dynasties. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, Jeb Bush is widely expected to announce his presidential bid in the coming weeks.
Bush’s remarks are a marked change from his previous attitude, which saw the former president steadfastly refusing to criticize his successor, even when prodded by reporters. While Bush has previously stated that to do so would be bad for the presidency, his former vice president Dick Cheney has had no such qualms and has been an outspoken critic of President Obama since he first took office.
[Photo by Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images]