How internal disunity is ruining US foreign policy

According to US officials, only when the US leaders prioritize domestic issues will Americans begin to trust their institutions again.

  • US troops with their gear head to a waiting bus on January 4 2020 in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, awaiting deployment to the Middle East. (AP)

Domestic division makes the United States more susceptible to foreign policy threats, said Stephen J. Hadley, a former National Security Advisor, and Richard Fontaine, a former National Security Council and State Department official.

Hadley and Fontaine argue in Foreign Policy that the US may be capable of managing the many foreign “threats” it perceives, ranging from Asia to the Middle East, yet it lacks the one thing to succeed, which is political unity.

A recent poll found that about twice as many Americans say international policy should be a key focus in 2024 as they did a year ago. Other studies, however, express strong reservations about the US global leadership, government competency, and the usefulness of foreign participation. 

According to the 2023 Chicago Council Survey, 57% of  Americans support the US meddling in foreign affairs, down from 70% in 2018.

In this context, the authors note that “a divided, inward-looking nation will make navigating global challenges even more difficult.”

This is especially true considering a 2022 effort by Texas Republicans to vote on whether the state should split from the US.

Read more: Texas border standoff with Biden administration widens

Both authors recall how the delay in funding to Ukraine exemplifies the impact of political chaos on US foreign policy. Profound disagreements on border security have held up the funding and the fourth five-year reauthorization of PEPFAR, or the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has been enmeshed in larger abortion controversies.

Even life-saving initiatives like PEPFAR they believe are jeopardized by contentious domestic politics.

Hadley and Fontaine believe that US political leaders should pledge to unify the nation and “emphasize that, whatever our differences are at home, they pale in comparison to those with our foreign adversaries.”

They note that domestic issues like globalization, illegal immigration, and affordable health care have all yet to be tackled with “sustainable, bipartisan solutions.”

They believe that what the country needs is an economic framework that promotes inclusive growth and border security with legal migration to revitalize the economy, while leaders should make difficult decisions to put long-term government spending “in line with revenues,” in addition to rebuilding a strong national defense.

Only then, they argue, will Americans begin to trust their institutions again.

They emphasize that Americans will not care about overseas issues until their leaders “address real needs at home.”

Trump: border bill must be separate from foreign war aid allocation

Former President Donald Trump called for the separation of a new US bill addressing border and immigration issues from the allocation of foreign aid to Ukraine and “Israel”, following the unveiling of the Senate’s supplemental funding bill on Sunday.

“We need a separate Border and Immigration Bill. It should not be tied to foreign aid in any way, shape, or form!” Trump said.

According to Trump, the Senate bill is intended to shift blame away from the Democrats, whom he accuses of causing the border crisis, and place the responsibility for the consequences of their perceived poor performance on the Republicans.

“Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill,” Trump said via a Truth Social post.

US senators unveiled Sunday the text of a highly anticipated bill that would allocate substantial new aid for Ukraine and the Israeli occupation entity, while simultaneously implementing stricter US border laws, which the Republicans vowed will not pass.

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