Déjà Vu: Jeb Bush on European Tour Sounds Like Man He Wants to Replace

© AP Photo / J Pat CarterFormer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's 11th Annual Luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's 11th Annual Luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla. - Sputnik International
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Although Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is positioning himself as a viable alternative to US President Barack Obama, he sounds just like the man he wants to replace, Eli Stokols noted.

Former Florida Governor and potential Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush addresses the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party economic council in Berlin, Germany June 9, 2015 - Sputnik International
Jeb Bush's European Tour Ramps Up the Anti-Russian Rhetoric
Jeb Bush kicked off his European tour earlier this week, visiting Germany, Poland and Estonia; the potential 2016 candidate has already attracted the public’s attention by his bellicosity and aggressive stance toward Russia as well as by his promotion of the US' exceptional role in international affairs.

However, it seems that under the smoke screen of tough political declarations, Jeb Bush is in fact continuing the same political course as US President Barack Obama, the man Bush may replace one day, American political reporter Eli Stokols emphasized.

"Stylistically, Bush is striking a more aggressive posture than the president, warning about Russian encroachment and vowing to more staunchly defend America's allies in Eastern Europe. But on substance, Bush has offered little to differentiate himself from Obama's cautious, consensus-driven approach to confronting Russian leader Vladimir Putin," the journalist stressed.

Indeed, during his European tour the Republican presidential hopeful has been demonstrating views strikingly similar to those of Barack Obama.

Jeb Bush declared the need to beef up the US military presence in Eastern Europe and namely in the Baltic states, where Obama had already ordered a substantial buildup of air force units. "The numbers are, I understand, in the hundreds, and that doesn’t send a signal of strength," Bush said as quoted by the journalist.

Ukrainian servicemen take part in a welcome ceremony for first plane from United State with non-lethal aid including ten Humvee vehicles to Ukraine at Borispol airport near Kiev, March 25, 2015. - Sputnik International
US Senate Pushes for Providing Lethal Aid to Ukraine – Reports
While both Republican and Democrat lawmakers are urging the US President to arm the Ukrainian military forces with lethal weapons, Bush underscored that the United States should provide Kiev only with "defensive" arms.

"I think we need to provide defensive military support, because it's very hard to make the structural reforms necessary and grow the economy in a world where there's a threat of further aggression," the Republican presidential hopeful admitted.

The journalist pointed out that Bush has also repeated Obama's words that Washington "can't be the world's policeman," proceeding with Obama's idea that at the same time the United States "will defend the territorial integrity of every single ally."

US military instructors arrive in Ukraine - Sputnik International
US Wants to Make Ukraine NATO Base to Launch Attack on Russia - Politician
On the other hand, Bush's views on US-European economic relations are seemingly aligned with those of Barack Obama: in particular, he praised the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and underscored that further financial aid to Ukraine should be tied to Kiev's ability to conduct effective political and economic reforms.

Furthermore, just like Barack Obama, Bush neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of Georgia or Ukraine's future membership in NATO, saying rather vaguely that "there's a process that these countries need to go through."

"As for whether the US should consider putting permanent military bases in Poland, Bush was careful not to over-commit, pointing out that he’s not yet privy to the intelligence he'd need to decide," the journalist emphasized.

The question remains open on how exactly Jeb Bush is going to differentiate himself from his predecessor if he kicks off his presidential campaign, and if his tough and aggressive stance towards Russia is just a smokescreen that he uses to attract support of US allies and American voters.

It is expected that Jeb Bush will officially announce of his decision to participate in the 2016 Presidential race on June 15 in Miami.

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