Jeb Bush has received outsized scrutiny for the makeup of his large team of foreign policy advisers, as observers try to cull any clues about his thinking on international affairs. But by focusing on the bold-faced names, pundits are missing the point. The reality is that the modern Republican Party is a fundamentally hawkish institution, and if he's elected president, Jeb will likely favor a much more assertive American role in the world than President Obama does. And so will every other Republican running, with the likely exception of Rand Paul.
Bush said as much in his speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He called the Obama administration "inconsistent and indecisive." He said a president's tough talk against our enemies "need to be backed up by the greatest military force in the world." He mocked the civil-libertarian opposition to NSA programs to gather intelligence about terrorist threats. And he famously tagged his views as "liberty diplomacy"—a clever rebranding of his brother's freedom agenda and promotion of democracy worldwide.
In short, Jeb Bush was running on his brother's foreign policy, something that became untenable when the American public grew weary of the Iraq War. But the reality is that George W. Bush's foreign policy and national security views have remained the norm within the GOP. Jeb may have included some less-interventionist advisers to keep his critics guessing—such as his father's 84-year-old secretary of State, James Baker—but his speech was nearly indistinguishable from one that George W. would deliver.