The national conventions finished amidst historic domestic unrest, while Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCohen claims in new book that Trump is ‘guilty of the same crimes’ as him ‘Princess Bride’ cast to reunite for Wisconsin Democrats fundraiser Bernie Sanders warns that Trump may not concede the election MORE and Joe BidenJoe Biden‘Princess Bride’ cast to reunite for Wisconsin Democrats fundraiser Anita Hill says she’ll vote for Biden Buttigieg, former Obama officials added to Biden’s transition team MORE presented their starkly contrasted plans to address the crises facing the United States. However, the differences on race relations and the protests are not the only differences between the candidates. Their foreign policy views could not be more dissimilar.
Trump continues to tout his America first strategy, a reversal of the interventionist policy pursued by his predecessors, notably George Bush and Barack Obama. Critics call the strategy neoisolationism and warn that it could have tragic effects on the country. In his remarks at the Republican convention, Trump drew a sharp line between his foreign policy with that of previous administrations, portraying himself as an outsider who places the interests of the United States at the top of his agenda.
Trump can point to some foreign policy achievements in his first term, such as success in brokering a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. But too often, the hallmark of his foreign policy has been its unpredictability, which has undermined confidence in our abilities and jeopardized our national security objectives.
For Biden, the challenge will be convincing voters that after four years of the uneven, “gut driven” leadership of Trump, returning to a more conventional approach to foreign policy will make us safer and more prosperous. While Biden spoke little about world affairs during the Democratic convention, his campaign highlights his experience in foreign policy under Obama. Biden has made the case for restoring our leadership on climate change, nuclear weapons, and foreign aggression, while focusing America on its strategic alliances, especially the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
For Trump, suspicion of the alliance that helped defeat the Soviet Union and contain Russian aggression looms large. At the convention, he took credit for the increase in defense spending by NATO members in his first term. However, Trump has also taken steps that have fractured and badly strained relations with our closest NATO partners while emboldening our adversaries, such as pulling 12,000 forces out of Germany and withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty.
While Trump has threatened to leave the alliance entirely, arguably our most important multilateral relationship codified after World War Two, he has stayed woefully silent on Russia’s internal repression and its bold aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Most recently, Trump said outrageously he has seen no proof that the Russian government poisoned opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Biden, by contrast, has pledged to restore America’s ironclad commitment to NATO, while working with other partners to craft a new strategic concept that acknowledges the challenges of Russian aggression in a way that Trump has failed to do. Biden has also vowed to renew the nation’s commitment to the multilateral treaties from which Trump has withdrawn, pursue an extension of the New Start Treaty, from which Trump has promised to withdraw, and use that accord as a foundation for new arms control arrangements.
The candidates also differ drastically on policy towards the Middle East, specifically on the Iran nuclear deal, one of President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements from which Trump quickly withdrew. While Trump has criticized the deal for failing to prevent Iran permanently from developing nuclear weapons, the president withdrew from the agreement without a replacement deal on hand, thereby allowing Iran to pursue its nuclear program unrestrained. Biden has said he would restore the Iran nuclear deal, but in doing so, work closely with American allies to strengthen its terms and push back more effectively against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.
Perhaps of greatest importance to Americans, Trump has had no consistent response to the coronavirus with regard to China, which Biden has criticized. Indeed, there has been no effort to coordinate with Beijing, other than bashing China and labeling the pandemic the “China virus.” Moreover, while Trump finally negotiated a trade deal with China earlier this year, the deal did little for the U.S. The seemingly endless trade war that preceded it has also caused turmoil for American farmers and manufacturers.
Simply put, the clearest distinction between Biden’s foreign policy and Trump’s is the likelihood that Biden will work to reassert American military and moral authority around the world, restore…