World-class failure

12. He has lowered America’s standing internationally

U.S. foreign policy has seen its share of ignominious moments over the years. To put it simply, we have an unfortunate tendency of acting with more aggression than finesse on the world stage. We’ve provoked coups, assassinated politicians, propped up undemocratic regimes, backed murderous rebel movements, and entangled ourselves in wars that dragged on for prolonged periods and were completely unnecessary in the first place. The flip side of the coin shows the U.S. capable of being highly effective at diplomacy when we make the effort. Our participation in NATO was instrumental in keeping Western Europe safe from Soviet aggression, and our leadership on the United Nations Security Council played a key role at various critical moments in modern history. With the exception of the Iraq War debacle, our foreign policy remained remarkably consistent since the breakup of the USSR, across four presidential administrations and eight secretaries of state. Then came DT, and the playbook went sailing out the window.

Under DT, the longtime problematic aspects of U.S. foreign policy have continued, while its better aspects have deteriorated. He promised to put an end to foreign wars but has made no effort to do so. He withdrew the U.S. from the international nuclear deal with Iran and then ordered the killing of a top Iranian general, bringing us closer to war with that country. He moved our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a controversial move that was entirely unwarranted. He declined to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of a prominent journalist who had written pieces critical of that country’s ruling family. He threatened our allies with sanctions, announced that he trusted a dictator’s word over that of the entire U.S. intelligence community, stepped up the bombardment of a country we invaded almost two decades earlier, and acted coercively toward an ally in the hope of helping his reelection campaign. His unreasoning insistence on demonizing China while singing the praises of Putin’s Russia smacks of racism and ignorance. He has appointed two secretaries of state, the first a well-meaning corporate executive with no government experience who was quickly in over his head, the second a right-wing ideologue who has completed the politicization of the State Department, resulting in a mass exodus of career diplomats. Perhaps most chillingly, he has pursued a policy of extreme isolationism, even going so far as to withdraw from the World Health Organization as an unprecedented pandemic seized the planet.

Competent foreign policy isn’t just a nicety. It improves our standing in the community of nations, furthers our economic interests, gives us leverage with which to negotiate, helps protect us from unexpected threats, and it can be instrumental either in averting a war or, if that war happens, winning it.

There are too many more examples of DT’s incompetence and misbehavior in foreign affairs to mention here. In short, under DT the U.S. has lost credibility and stature in the world. We have become something of a laughingstock—the most powerful nation on the planet and a supposed beacon of democracy, run by a petty thug who neither knows nor cares about anything but himself. If we are to remain in a position where we won’t be eclipsed financially by China and militarily by Russia, we need to vote him out of office and replace him with Joe Biden, who has vast foreign policy experience and will act to protect the nation, not himself.

Open to debate

The second, and final, presidential debate of the 2020 general election is slated to air tonight at 9 p.m. EDT. But should it?

Joe Biden is doing well, and tonight will provide a chance for him to stick his foot in his mouth. DT is doing poorly, and tonight will provide a chance for him to tone down the interruptions and the insults that characterized his performance at the first debate. It’s doubtful that either of those chances will come to fruition, but it’s a concern. So is the coronavirus. Even with social distancing, it seems like an unnecessary risk for Joe to take to even be there. We need him healthy and strong over the next four years. Or eight.

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