The 2020 Democratic National Convention was very light on policy details in all areas, but especially in the realm of foreign policy.
Granted, Americans are understandably focused on domestic affairs after the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, but the absence of foreign affairs was interesting because President Donald Trump devoted so much of his first term to unraveling his predecessor Barack Obama’s policies, most famously including the Iran nuclear deal.
Foreign policy is also supposed to be the big deal-breaker between President Trump and some establishment Republicans. Before it fizzled out, the most exciting event in the anti-Trump world was the publication of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s sternly critical book.
And yet, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris had little to say on the subject. Neither of them mentioned the Iran nuclear deal at all, even though President Trump went to the United Nations to trigger a sanctions “snapback” that could destroy the deal — or maybe even the United Nations — on the very day Biden and Harris accepted their nominations.
Critics howled that President Trump’s elimination of Iranian terror master Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil in January was going to provoke World War Three, which became a trending hashtag over the weekend after Soleimani was killed. Soleimani went unmentioned by both Democrat candidates. Biden’s only mention of Iraq was during his eulogy for his son Beau.
Trump was also accused of courting a world war by moving the U.S. embassy to Israel to Jerusalem in 2018. Top Democrats excoriated Trump for this supposed blunder, even though most of them had rhetorically supported moving the embassy in the past. Biden criticized Trump for the decision, although he added he would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv if he became president. Harris declined to comment when asked if she thought the embassy should move back.
Oddly, the incredible Trump blunder of moving the embassy to Jerusalem went completely unmentioned by the rival presidential ticket. That might be because Arab powers are lining up to sign peace deals with Israel at the moment, not declaring war.
How about the great global menace of the new century, Communist China? Biden did mention them very briefly, and did his level best to sound like Donald Trump: “We’ll make the medical supplies and protective equipment our country needs. And we’ll make them here in America. So we will never again be at the mercy of China and other foreign countries in order to protect our own people.”
That’s the kind of rhetoric Democrats usually denounce as crude nationalism. Harris had nothing to say about China at all, or any other national security issue, for that matter. She took time to lecture the American people about “structural racism,” but had nothing to say about China’s concentration camps.
Biden and Harris spent a good deal of time trying to leverage the Wuhan coronavirus for political advantage, but said nothing about where it came from. Biden and his speechwriters were, at least, wise enough to avoid including China on their list of countries that supposedly handled the pandemic better than the United States, although he did falsely state American had “by far the worst performance of any nation on Earth,” which implicitly means he accepts Chinese Communist propaganda about their performance.
Harris had nothing to say about national security, while Biden talked about climate change for a while, and then brought up a Democrat conspiracy theory obsession – no, not the Post Office, the one before that – and made the usual vague promises to stand up for “human rights” without specifying who he would be willing to stand up to:
I will be a president who will stand with our allies and friends. I will make it clear to our adversaries the days of cozying up to dictators are over.
Under President Biden, America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Nor will I put up with foreign interference in our most sacred democratic exercise — voting.
I will stand always for our values of human rights and dignity. And I will work in common purpose for a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world.
That is a deeply hypocritical statement from the vice president whose administration delivered pallets of cash to the dictatorship in Iran, and a curiously lightweight discussion of foreign policy in an election year where the top story was a disease unleashed by a hostile foreign power. The incumbent president was savaged as a clumsy nativist xenophobe from the moment he took office, but somehow his opponents couldn’t think of anything to say about his foreign policy when they accepted their nominations.