Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Biden and Trump may spar on foreign policy in the first debate

By 37ci3 Jun26,2024

WASHINGTON — Foreign policy should be President Joe Biden’s specialty, but in Thursday’s debate with Donald Trump, he easily found himself on the defensive.

Two wars have broken out on Biden’s watch, and for Trump, despite Biden’s extensive experience and global contacts as a former senator and vice president, the world seems a more dangerous place now than when Trump left office, some foreign policy experts argue.

This is a simplistic argument that hides the many complex realities of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and Israel’s war with Hamas. Biden built an international coalition that prevented Russia from marching directly on Kiev, and he provided Israel with the necessary weapons after the October 7 surprise attack by Hamas.

The two-term president put himself in danger by visiting war zones in Kiev and Tel Aviv.

In a 90-minute debate defined by quick questions and quick answers, Biden may struggle to muster a convincing response in real time.

Richard Goldberg, a former national security official in his administration, predicted what Trump would say: “The world is on fire today. It was not burning when I was the president. “My policy was peace through force.”

One way Biden could try to deflect arguments along these lines, some experts say, would be to focus on Trump’s tenure, when aides fear he will pull out of NATO and weaken European governments.

“This is a tough foreign policy debate for Biden,” said Lewis Lukens, a U.S. diplomat for 30 years and now a senior partner at Signum Global Advisers.

If he were advising Biden, Lukens added, “I would emphasize that Trump’s approach to the world is making the world less stable, not more stable. The problem for Biden is that the two current wars were not going on when Trump was president. Trump will simply say, “Look at the evidence; you are wrong.” “

Foreign policy is rarely front and center in presidential elections. In that case, Trump’s possible return to power could remake the post-World War II order.

He has revealed his personal views on some of the world’s autocrats, including Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

At the same time, Trump insulted the leaders of democratically governed countries in Europe. Since leaving the White House, he has gone so far as to make threats let them come to their defense Unless it fulfills its financial obligations to NATO.

“To say that Europe is worried about the possibility of a Trump victory would be a massive understatement,” said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the US and the Americas program at Chatham House, a London-based international affairs think tank. “They are afraid here.”

Speaking before the United Nations in 2018, he boasted about the achievements of the Trump administration. laughable from some of the audience.

All of this arms Biden with plenty of material to distract Trump from his own troubles.

“Trump would destroy the transatlantic alliance that has kept the peace for 80 years,” said Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff at both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department during the Barack Obama administration. “He will surrender to Putin. He made it clear that he would end the war [in Ukraine] within 24 hours, and the only way you can do that is to pull the rug out from NATO and withdraw American support from Ukraine.”

One issue that may come up in the discussions is the war in Afghanistan. It cuts both ways for Biden. He withdrew US forces in 2021, ending a 20-year conflict that was unpopular at home. But the retreat led to a tragedy at the Kabul airport: a terrorist attack killed 13 US servicemen who helped the evacuation.

Biden may argue that he was simply following Trump’s 2020 peace deal. Given the chaotic scenes at the airport, where his administration decided to pull back, that argument may fall flat.

“Trump’s The answer to almost any foreign policy question about something bad that has happened is that it wouldn’t have happened if he was president,” said Trump White House national security adviser John Bolton, who later feuded with his ex-girlfriend. which cannot be proven in one way or another.”

As for Afghanistan, Bolton continued: “What Trump will focus on is the failure at the Kabul airport. He said: “I could do better.” This is one of the unproven claims. But he will just confirm it.”

The debates will test both men’s ability to deliver their lines in a concise, memorable manner. Neither speaks with particular fluency when not reading from a script. Given widespread concerns about Biden’s age, he may be under more pressure than Trump to deliver a commanding performance.

“Democrats have to rely on President Biden to get through this,” Vinjamuri said. “And if the debate doesn’t go well, people are very worried that it’s going to be too late for the Democrats.”

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By 37ci3

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