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Foreign Policy and the Democrat Dilemma

Are any Democratic candidates ready – or willing – to outdo Trump as a champion of American interests abroad?

There is little doubt that the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries will be dominated by domestic issues, the alleged threat of climate change, and identity politics. Obviously, the backdrop to all of this will be the portrayal of President Donald Trump as a danger to the country, and there will be jockeying for position, among primary contenders, for recognition as the one candidate most likely to unseat Trump in 2020. What of foreign policy, though? Are any of these candidates ready to outdo Trump as a champion of American interests abroad?

Once the nominee emerges, the head-to-head contest with the president will take on a different tone. While immigration, border controls, and national security will not dominate the primary stump speeches and debates, they are issues that Trump’s eventual opponent will be forced to confront. How well equipped are any of the Democrats to convince voters they have a better foreign policy vision than Trump – or even that they care as much as he does about securing American interests and American security, both at home and abroad?

Barack Obama

Obama’s Legacy of Foreign Policy Failure

Former President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House were marked by no positive foreign policy achievements. America’s standing on the world stage – from both a security and an economic standpoint – was weakened by Trump’s predecessor, and it would not be unfair to argue that this was, in fact, Obama’s intent.

Known for his many apologies to the international community for American military, cultural, and economic dominance, Obama never once stood up to foreign adversaries. The only thing anybody remembers about Obama’s encounters with the Saudi Arabian king is how low the former bowed. His most notable exchange with a senior Russian official was his assurance to President Putin – delivered to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in what Obama thought was an off-mic moment – that he, the U.S. president, would have more flexibility after his re-election. More flexibility to do what, we never discovered.

Obama presided over the rise of ISIS, the Libyan catastrophe, and the descent of socialist Venezuela from prosperity to impoverishment and repression.

Disdain for American Greatness

Indeed, the entire philosophy of the American left precludes a foreign policy that protects U.S. interests. Yearning for a global community into which sovereign nations melt, the left is both unwilling and unable to build upon Trump’s “America first” agenda.

Their belief that America has a greater moral duty to redistribute its wealth to poorer nations than it does to protect the prosperity and security of its own people means Democrats cannot be trusted to make foreign policy decisions that benefit the American people. At every turn, they seek to advance the interests of other nations first. They resent the U.S.’s global dominance and, of course, they despise her military might. The very idea of American exceptionalism disgusts them.

Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, just recently said on MSNBC: “When I hear these things about ‘Let’s make America great again,’ I think to myself: ‘Exactly when did you think America was great?’” New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said during a speech in August 2018: “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” During a recent campaign event, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg rejected Trump’s vision of “making America great again” by suggesting: “[T]hat past that he is promising to return us to was never as great as advertised.”

There is more than a series of coincidences, here. Democrats have a clear strategy to convince the American people that their country is not great, was never great and, more importantly, that they are not deserving of greatness.

More dangerous still, prominent Democratic Party figures are largely beholden to China, America’s most formidable foe on the world stage. The families of Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and presidential candidate Joe Biden owe much of their families’ wealth to business deals with the Chinese. While Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both have a history of taking a harder line against the Chinese, few others in their party dare say a bad word about the world’s biggest communist country.

Just as Obama once scoffed at the idea that Russia was a threat to the U.S., so Biden dismisses the idea that China represents an economic threat. Recently, he addressed the issue at a campaign rally: “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.” While he was vice president, of course, Biden took his son, Hunter, to China, where the latter somehow managed to ink a private equity deal with the Bank of China that would have made Wall St. envious. Hunter Biden had no finance and investment experience whatsoever, and such a deal certainly would not have been possible without his father’s influence.

A Better Vision for America?

Democrats also believe that international accords and trade deals should be structured in a way that compels the U.S. to spend vast amounts of money on combating climate change. Ignoring the fact that a host of other nations – primarily China and India – far outdo America as polluters of the environment, Democratic politicians believe it is America’s responsibility to defeat the specter of catastrophic climate change – or so they would have people believe. In reality, the Quixotic battle to alter the planet’s climate and save humanity is really, once again, about wealth redistribution.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) recently told CNN that she would not have signed America up for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because “We need to do a better job in terms of thinking about the priorities that should be more apparent now than perhaps they were then, which are issues like the climate crisis and what we need to build into these trade agreements.”

Such statements are nothing more than code for demanding a redistribution of American wealth. There is no credible scientific research that proves the global climate can be altered – to any significant degree – by even the most radical current proposals for addressing the issue.

Seth Moulton (D) who represents Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District, is also running for the Democratic Party nomination. He appears to be the only one of the 20-plus candidates who is even talking about foreign policy and national security. Moulton appears to have little to offer in the way of a constructive agenda, though. At every opportunity, he touts his status as a combat veteran as if that, alone, qualifies him to be president. His foreign policy agenda is entirely based upon doing the opposite to what Trump has done: Red meat for his party’s Trump-hating voter base, for sure, but hardly a well-thought-out national security strategy.

That the majority of Americans care, first and foremost, about domestic issues like healthcare and the economy is a constant truth. Domestic policy and foreign policy, though, are always intertwined and the specific problems of border security and immigration link those two policies inextricably. Democratic presidential candidates focus on domestic affairs in order to avoid admitting that they have no intention of putting America first in foreign policy but it is a debate the party’s nominee will be unable to avoid.

Given that the current president is the most strident defender of American exceptionalism since Ronald Reagan – and maybe even more so than him – the incumbent’s eventual opponent has a daunting task ahead of them, convincing the voters that he or she has a better vision for America’s place among nations.

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