The last three years have been a sad display of US non-leadership on the world stage. Outside of the Ukraine-Russia war, it will be very hard for Joe Biden or any Democrat candidate to defend the Biden administration’s record. Afghanistan was an unmitigated disaster. The images of people running after the US airplanes driving off the runway has left a lasting impression on the entire world. But most of America has long moved on from their concerns about the Afghanistan debacle. The current foreign policy issues are Russia, China, and concerns of a war in the South Pacific over Taiwan.
The issue of US involvement in a conflict in the South Pacific has brought out different approaches, just like the issue of Russia’s attack on Ukraine has revealed different approaches. Interestingly, this is not one of those issues where Republicans and Democrats split on the matter.
Many Democrats are foreign policy doves who shy away from most foreign involvement in wars, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. But Joe Biden over the years and others have represented the moderate wing of the party. They are more in line with what most of America is looking for – a modest involvement in foreign conflagrations, with massive amounts of financial support in order to avoid sending boots on the ground.
On the Republican side, the views range from the foreign policy hawks looking for US leadership on the world stage, to more isolationist-oriented approaches who balk at American involvement in most every war. Donald Trump has been a strong proponent of the latter approach. Surprisingly, Donald Trump was very effective on the world stage. He did indeed attack Iran’s head of the military in order to send a powerful signal to Iran that America will not hesitate to act when it decides to. And he dropped a massive bomb early in his administration with the clear intention of making it clear who is in charge.
But an attack by China on Taiwan would be a whole different story. Would America be willing to risk entering the fray in a battle against Taiwan? It seems today that both Democrats and Republicans would look for any way of NOT getting involved. So, massive shiploads of weapons would probably be sent to Taiwan, Australia and Japan in order to keep America out of the fray. Then America would probably organize a world-wide sanction action on China. China would probably be happy if that were to occur. Actually, China’s biggest concern is probably internal opposition. But a worldwide clamp-down on China would probably have too many holes in it in order for it to be effective. Too much of the world – including the United States – is too dependent on China for vital goods such as pharmaceuticals. The ships and trains will never stop supplying goods.
The China question will continue to loom large in the future years. Whoever sits in the Oval Office may very well have to deal with this monumental issue which is only growing from year to year.