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What the Republican National Convention Tells Us About Trump’s Foreign Policy

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Nobody expects a political convention to be an exercise in sober, dispassionate analysis—and in that sense, the first three days of the Republic National Convention did not disappoint. On the contrary, the RNC so far has been replete not just with the usual partisan spin and effusive praise for the nominee but with wild distortions, embarrassing obsequiousness, shocking violations of norms and laws, and numerous outright lies. The most egregious cases of spin included the claims of unprecedented economic performance (when in fact U.S. growth and job creation under President Donald Trump have been slower than under most recent presidents even before the economy entered the current recession), efforts to paint Trump as friendly to immigrants when he has worked relentlessly to restrict all forms of immigration and regularly engages in xenophobia, and—perhaps worst of all—the astonishing praise for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the number of dead Americans approaches 200,000, by far the highest total anywhere in the world.

The distortions of Trump’s foreign-policy record haven’t quite reached that level of absurdity, but some have come close. On China, with relations in tatters, the “phase one” trade deal unimplemented, and no further agreements on the horizon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s only claim was that Trump has “pulled back the curtain” on bad Chinese behavior and “held China accountable.” Pompeo conveniently overlooked the massive costs of Trump’s trade war for Americans and the failure to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China. Pompeo also insisted that “because of President Trump, NATO is stronger,” when Trump has in fact alienated most NATO allies and repeatedly undermined the alliance’s mutual defense guarantee, the main reason for its existence. On North Korea, Pompeo gave Trump credit for having “lowered the temperature,” even though it was Trump who had turned up the temperature in the first place; Pompeo’s boast that the president got North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the table “against all odds” was puzzling in that Kim had been the one longing for a summit and made no concessions when he got one.

Other speakers used similar sleight of hand. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul tried to suggest that Trump, unlike Democratic nominee Joe Biden, opposed the Iraq War, when in fact he supported it and only changed........

© Foreign Policy

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