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Senator Cotton vs. Progressive Foreign Policy


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Real Clear Politics

Peter Berkowitz

Nov. 13 2022

Responsible foreign policy in a free and democratic nation-state is a matter of balance. Interest and principle; the logic of geopolitics and the sway of tradition, faith, and political ideology; force of arms and diplomatic finesse; national interest and alliances; spheres of influence and the laws binding all nations; necessity and justice – these and more must be constantly combined and reconciled to meet the demands of the moment and long-term strategic objectives. The Biden administration has thrown this combining and reconciling out of whack.

Despite President Trump’s bluster and bravado, his administration transmitted to the Biden administration a variety of foreign-policy accomplishments. Foremost among them was reorientation of U.S. diplomacy around the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party to American freedom and prosperity and to the nation’s interest in preserving a free and open international order.

In addition, the Trump administration revived the Quad – Japan, India, and Australia, along with the United States – to advance shared interests in the Indo-Pacific. It withdrew from the Iran deal, which omitted reliable mechanisms for monitoring Tehran’s nuclear programs and put the terrorism-exporting Islamic republic on a clear timetable to join the nuclear club. It brokered the Abraham Accords, inaugurating a new era of comity between Israel and Arab nations. It persuaded several NATO partners to meet – or come closer to fulfilling – their agreed-upon obligations to fund the alliance. It fostered U.S. self-reliance by encouraging development of domestic oil and natural gas. And it reasserted control over America’s southern border, substantially reducing the influx of illegal immigrants.

Biden and his team laudably followed the Trump administration in breaking with decades of engagement with China by recognizing that the CCP acts as a strategic competitor determined to reshape the world order to suit the party’s authoritarian convictions. But Biden’s diplomacy has left America in a weaker position than the one his White House inherited.

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