Saturday, July 13, 2024
Saturday, July 13, 2024
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A Presidential Debate Heard ’Round the World

Walter Russel Mead
WSJ, July 1, 2024

The weak debate showing undermines confidence in both the durability of the Biden administration and the competence of its leadership. Can either Israel or Hamas trust commitments made by this administration when it looks as if Donald Trump will return to power next January”
As Thursday’s presidential debate reverberated through American politics, most attention focused on President Biden’s faltering performance. But there is another dimension to the story. The debate moved foreign policy to center stage in the presidential race even as it raised the temperature of world politics and increased the chances of more international crises as the U.S. election approaches.
American presidential debates typically revolve around domestic issues like fiscal policy and culture wars, but last week’s shocker was an exception. Donald Trump has decided that foreign policy is a crucial weakness of the Biden presidency, and he hammered relentlessly at a theme he believes will work for him.

Throughout the entire world, we’re no longer respected as a country. They don’t respect our leadership. They don’t respect the United States anymore,” Mr. Trump said. He returned to this idea repeatedly during Thursday’s debate. He said Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine “if we had a real president . . . a president that was respected by Putin.”

For those who have been paying attention, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mr. Trump has been emphasizing this idea on the campaign trail. On June 18 he told a rally in Racine, Wis., that “Joe Biden is humiliating our country on the world stage . . . I will prevent a thing called World War III.” The crowd began cheering and continued as he said: “You are closer to it than you have any idea. Biden’s weakness has put us in grave danger.”

… [To read the full article, click here]

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