It seems we have two big topics that nobody cares about in this election cycle: deficit spending and foreign policy.
In the past, those two topics would have featured highly in any electoral debate.
On the debt/deficit topic since nobody knows what to do, everybody ignores it, and just keeps spending--and I mean both Dems and Reps. Measures to deal with the budget deficit and the national debt have zero, and I do mean ZERO, political support. I don't even see much rhetorical support for restraining spending--an occasional bleat from the Pauls, father and son, but that's about it. The recent way over-the-top and destructive reaction to the ChiCom "pandemic," of course, has brought that out quite clearly. Both sides compete to produce the biggest possible "stimulus" package so that the government can "stimulate" the economy which it needlessly shut down in the first place. The government creates the problem; the government seeks to resolve that problem, and, thus, creates more problems.That's how it happens, here and in every other country. Some day, a future generation will face the day of reckoning. But, not now: so party on! That's the extent of my sage comments on this topic. You want fiscal and economic wisdom, go somewhere else; I am not giving away the solution for free, you know. And I ain't leaving it on my laptop in any repair shop, either . . .
The other topic?
Trump's foreign policy has succeeded so much that it has dropped off the public radar. I can't remember an election in which foreign policy played such an insignificant role. The successes have proven more than impressive, and, in no particular order, some are: rebuilding and strengthening NATO over the objections of NATO; destroying ISIS; establishing a cooperative relationship with both Brazil and Mexico; checking China; checking Russia; checking Iran; checking North Korea; rebuilding the alliance with Israel and the Arabs; reaffirming our support for Taiwan and Japan; renegotiating the idiotic NAFTA; pulling out of the idiotic Paris Climate Accord; killing the idiotic TPP accord. There are others, too, which I am sure the six readers of this inconsequential blog can list.
I can't recall another administration with this many foreign policy successes in such a short time. Trump's approach to foreign policy runs counter to the advice of the "experts" in the Deep State. He insists on keeping it simple--something which my old colleagues at State refused to do. His policy is based on American strength, economic and military, on common sense, and a keen understanding of American interests. America First is a real thing. Successful foreign policy begins at home, e.g., making clear we are no longer going to be the intellectual property rights and economic piggy bank for China, or a dumping ground for illegal aliens from Latin America and elsewhere. He has restored the United States as a popular place to invest, and has brought factories, long thought lost, back home. Remarkable.
For the first time since roughly WWII, the United States is not only energy independent but a net exporter of energy. Who among the smart classes would have predicted that--I mean aside from this blog, of course? This energy independence has freed us from worrying about what energy policies might be followed by OPEC, Venezuela, the Arabs, Russia, etc. Energy independence gives us remarkable freedom of action on foreign policy. Energy blackmail is no longer an option for our adversaries.
Trump has avoided the easy interventionist attitude of past administrations, while at the same time he has rebuilt the US military into a genuinely awesome machine with which no sane adversary would want to tangle. Trump has shown that, when necessary, he will pull the trigger: ask the 200 Russian mercenaries in Syria annihilated by the US Marines; ask al Baghdadi; ask Soleimani--I mean, that is, if you can find enough of them to ask. He made clear to Kim il-Sung's chubby grandson that whatever nuclear capabilities North Korea might have, we have a lot more, "my button is bigger and it works." North Korea would be on the losing side of any military exchange with the US; Kim Jung-un seems to understand that. Trump, however, will not get us involved in weird little endless wars over issues marginal to our core interests.
In the Middle East, Trump's achievements have been exceptional. He not only put an end to the idiotic issue of Israel's capital, he marginalized the hopelessly corrupt and double-dealing Palestinian Authority. No more money for them. He adopted a version of a policy I long advocated when I worked at State--to no avail--of active inaction: take the position that we already have a two-state formula for Palestine called Israel and Jordan. If those two want to create a third state, that's a matter for them. Not us. Meanwhile, of course, put the embassy in Jerusalem, drive home to the Arabs that their enemy is Iran, not Israel or the US, and that we are independent of Arab oil. So up to them to make the next move. And that's what is happening: we see Arab countries end their state of war with Israel, and establish economic and diplomatic relations with Israel--to the chagrin of John Kerry, Iran, Ilhan Omar, and the Palestinian crooks.
China now knows that while Trump holds the White House, the nature of the relationship changes. No wonder the Chinese have invested so heavily in recruiting the Biden family. China faces serious push-back around the world. Even Sweden agrees with Trump, for example, that there should not be Chinese involvement in developing 5G in Sweden, and that Chinese companies should not have access to Sweden's telecom infrastructure. We see Australia, India, and Japan strengthening their cooperation to counter China. There is renewed interest from several quarters in strengthening relations with Taiwan.
The bad state of affairs between the US and Russia is a needless problem. In my view, we could and should have better relations with Moscow. Yes, we all know that Russia can be sneaky and--horrors!--Russia pursues a "Russia First!" policy. We can deal with that. Trump has been partially crippled in dealing with Russia by the insane Russia collusion hoax promoted by his domestic enemies. It is tough to talk to Putin with shouts of "Collusion!" echoing across the American political landscape. Total insanity. Despite that destructive insanity from the Democrats, Trump has managed to check Russia--as noted above--and perhaps in a second term establish a more productive, less confrontational relationship with Moscow.
None of this seems to matter for the elections. Too bad. Trump has made the world a safer place.