There they go again
As Ronald Reagan might say, “there you go again.” Donald Trump and his Republican critics cannot seem to make up their minds on which foreign policy to conduct. One day the United States withdraws its troops from Syria, the next he sends them back in “to secure the oil” allegedly to keep ISIS from laying their hands on the Northeast Syrian fields.
These of course are the actions of a rogue defense department who regularly disregard their commander in chief. And naturally, that sage from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, gets chills every time he hears that long-suffering American soldiers might be heading home. Even with the successful raid that ended the career of al Baghdadi, Graham will insist that ISIS is a prime threat even if Trump correctly points out otherwise.
Graham and his cohorts, however, have an advantage — mainly, that Democrats essentially agree with their views. The great irony is that although Graham pays lip service in declaring his loyalty to Trump, he actually embraces the president’s critics. And he can do it with political impunity because Democratic hard-line stances on foreign policy box them in politically. For Graham, it is a no-brainer to maneuver to reverse Trumpian policies because the Democrats concur with his opinions. Moreover, he keeps Trump’s base in South Carolina happy.
Trump is essentially on an island on foreign policy even if his judgment is sound. He smartly dropped sanctions on Turkey and received some assistance from Russia in the form of no interference on the Baghdadi raid. Democrats support every hard-line foreign policy pundit in this business giving themselves almost no room to maneuver. There is not an inch worth of difference between the establishment Republicans and Democrats on foreign policy.
Instead, Democrats focus on Ukraine or situations they are partially responsible for. During the 2014 rebellion against Viktor Yanukovych, John McCain joined Victoria Nuland of the state department in trying to help topple the regime. Afterward, United States agents were crawling around Kiev in search of dirt on any American who supported the deposed president. It was at this time Hunter Biden received a position on the board of directors of an energy company. Moreover, the USA was in the thick of Ukrainian domestic politics. It certainly was not actions confined to Paul Manafort.
Now Trump was not wise to request an investigation on Joe Biden with the newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But what he did was not that unusual given American interference in Ukrainian affairs. His biggest mistake was to hold up military aid to Kiev, a problem partially exacerbated by Republicans in Congress who insisted on increasing assistance. Trump was squeezed by both groups.
Foreign policy gives Trump an edge because Democrats are hardliners. With the exception of Bernie Sanders and Gabbard, they are no doves. Any change involves Trump and his Republican critics. This situation gives the president the peace platform that aligns nicely with prosperity. Democrats need to reassess their approach toward foreign policy if they want to win.