The Democrats’ draft party platform, released in late July, is a concatenation of globalist ideals that promise peace and prosperity through diplomacy, strengthened alliances and reversing every aspect of President Trump’s foreign and defense policies. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s draft platform would return America to the eras of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.
Platforms are prepared by the candidate’s political advisers to advertise his views in a way that both satisfies the party’s base and makes them palatable to other voters. Mr. Biden’s is a much different platform than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran on four years ago.
In 2016, Mrs. Clinton’s platform at least pretended to be serious about national defense and foreign policy. It advocated continuation of the failed nation-building policy in Afghanistan and a “smart, predictable defense budget that meets the challenges we face …”
It argued for making military readiness a priority and ensuring our military is the best trained and equipped in the world. It also specifically promised that the Democrats would rid the military of outdated Cold War weapon systems and make our forces more agile and flexible, which implied a huge increase in defense spending.
It was, of course, a pretense that Mrs. Clinton would have abandoned immediately had she won the election.
Mr. Biden’s draft platform states a far more globalist and passive view of America’s role in the world. For starters, it promises to end the war in Afghanistan. The 2020 Democrats say they will accomplish that by leading with diplomacy, protecting us from terrorist threats, enabling local partners (meaning the Kabul government) and bringing our troops home. That’s nation-building with a time limit. But unless the enemy is defeated, it gets an equal vote on how peace can be made. And the Taliban is anything but defeated.
Not only does the draft platform fail to recognize that the Taliban’s ideological will to fight is undiminished, it also ignores the Russian, Chinese and Pakistani support for the Taliban in opposition to peace on our terms. Nevertheless, the Democrats say they are committed to a “durable and inclusive” settlement of the war that won’t allow al Qaeda to reconstitute or allow ISIS to grow. How that is possible, they don’t say.
The Dems believe the “international community” will help Afghans safeguard their gains, particularly for women and girls. They don’t understand that the rights of women and girls will disappear as soon as U.S. troops leave and the Taliban resume their rule.
The Democrats promise to use force “… only when necessary to protect national security and when the objective is clear and achievable …” Note the “and.” The Dems clearly intend to impose their subjective judgment on whether our military objectives are achievable. In terms of the Dems’ political agenda, that is a bar against the use of military power to protect our nation. It is a recipe for appeasement.
We know, from his statements, that Mr. Biden will rejoin Mr. Obama’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — his highly dangerous nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Knowing this, and on the basis of other statements in the draft platform, the draft has been endorsed by the National Iranian-American Council, which is generally regarded as the ayatollahs’ lobby in the United States.
Mr. Biden will restate Mr. Obama’s pledge that Iran will never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. He can have the JCPOA or he can prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. He can’t have it both ways.
The “international community” reference is one among many that promise to, in effect, return to the Obama and Carter eras when the United Nations was allowed effective control over U.S. foreign policy.
The 2020 draft platform promises to rejoin the United Nations World Health Organization despite its track record of being a mouthpiece for Chinese propaganda on the COVID-19 pandemic. It further promises to rejoin the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, which has a long record of ignoring the oppression of human rights in China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Since the beginning of the Cold War, the Democrats have never recognized that America’s national security interests cannot be subordinated to the views of the assorted dictators and despots that control the U.N.’s policies.
The Dems’ dedication to the United Nations is made perfectly clear. The draft says, in all seriousness, that “We believe the system of international institutions we built and led over the past seven decades has generated an enormous return on our investment.” Our investment in the U.N. and other international bodies has been enormous. The return on that investment, as I wrote on this page a few weeks ago, is paltry at best.
The most risible of the draft platform’s claims is that Democrats will ensure that our military has no peer. Mr. Biden made no objection to the $600 billion in defense spending cuts Mr. Obama imposed in blithe disregard of the threats we face and our military’s ability to deter or defeat the those threats. Mr. Biden can be counted on to do the same, and worse.
• Jed Babbin, a deputy undersecretary of Defense in the George H.W. Bush administration, is the author of “In the Words of Our Enemies.”
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