Putative Presidential candidate Jeb Bush lauded his father’s role in unifying Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago in Berlin on Tuesday in an attempt to bolster his foreign policy credentials just days before formally starting his presidency campaign.
But he avoided mention of his brother, former President George W. Bush, who is still vilified in Germany for ordering the invasion of Iraq and for controversial intelligence-gathering techniques adopted after the September, 2001 attacks.
In his first major international appearance, he hailed his father and former US President George H.W. Bush’s efforts to show foresight and courage to push for unification.
He said Berlin symbolised the full story of America’s commitment” to its allies “from liberation and post-war ruin, to bitter division, to peaceful unification and now, the most dynamic economy in Europe, whole and free.”
Bush was following what has become something of a tradition for presidential candidates seeking to shore up his foreign policy credentials for potential voters back home.
Switching to the challenges of today, he used his speech to warn Russia, stating that he would step up US action against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, especially in Ukraine and eastern Europe.
"Who can doubt that Russia will do what it pleases if its aggression goes unanswered? Our alliance, our solidarity and our actions are essential if we want to preserve the fundamental principles of our international order. An order that free nations have sacrificed so much to build," he said.
He also said he will call for deepening economic and security ties with eastern European nations, calling on the US and its allies to isolate Russia’s “corrupt leadership.”
Bush additionally criticised Obama’s administration early efforts to reframe relations with Moscow.
"There's lots to do and we're beginning to realize the reset button didn't turn out so hot," he said.
After holding meetings with business leaders, politicians and policy makers, Bush will head to NATO members Poland and Estonia later in the week.