Dems’ foreign policy
For the Democrats, the obvious unifying principle is the necessity of removing President Donald Trump in November 2020 if not sooner. Domestic policy also partially unites the Democrats, with the Affordable Care Act as accepted or at least a minimum with Medicare for all an aspirational goal. The same for global warming and a less strident immigration policy. No great surprises.
But on foreign policy, Democrats cling to the dogmas of American exceptionalism. The United States, in their eyes, has the right to dictate to the world its every move and policy. They are mostly eager to punish Vladimir Putin, Venezuela and Syria, and a good percentage are for either condemning China for its Hong Kong policy or applying tariffs. With the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, most Democratic presidential candidates are in line with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or John Bolton, Mr. National Security on foreign policy.
Trump tried to question the policy toward Russia and got the Robert Mueller investigation as a result. Early overtures to China went out the window with a clumsy tariff war and the ever-persistent Congress, both Democrats and Republicans eager to condemn any independent course on foreign policy.
Democrats have collaborated with Republicans to block any initiative, particularly toward Russia. At the G-7, Trump floated the idea of bringing Putin out of the cold diplomatically by allowing Russia back into the group. Trump’s proposal was sensible, but the Democrats followed the guidance of their Republican foreign policy friends in rejecting the president’s proposal. Ignoring that the United States underwrote a coup in Ukraine, the whole Crimean venture was a smash and grab attempt by Putin.
Also the charge that Hunter Biden became an advisor to a Ukrainian energy company is true. This is not new, it goes back to 2014. Now, Paul Manafort had to pay a price for favoring the overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, he is spending jail time for opposing the initiative of Victoria Nuland and all the rest. Democrats seem oblivious to these actions, focusing instead on “Russian Collusion.”
Same goes for Nicolas Manduro, Daniel Ortega and Bashar al-Assad. Republicans are worse but not much worse. Imagine if a Republican secretary of state reacted to news of Muammar Gaddafi’s death as Hillary Clinton did — “we came, we saw, he died.” Outrage all around, indignation to the maximum. Even Trump could not reach that lever of insensitivity. But Democrats offer no real alternative to traditional GOP foreign policy. They prefer collective action, but the goal is simple and clear, domination by the United States.
But Democrats will probably receive a pass by the voters because Trump cannot stand up to the foreign policy hardliners within his administration. To his credit he tried to broach a new approach to global affairs. But they checkmated him early. And he did the rest by focusing on immigration, tariffs and ignoring internal human rights. Trump probably did not realize it but he fell into a trap.