Former President Donald Trump raised fears of a world war spurred by President Biden’s foreign policy in biting remarks Saturday at a campaign-style rally in Texas.
The former president piled on the criticism as the Biden administration prepares to deploy troops to Eastern Europe and NATO countries as tensions escalate over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“China is threatening Taiwan,” Mr. Trump said. “Iran is on the cusp of a nuclear bomb. Russia may take over from Ukraine.”
“Joe Biden’s weakness and incompetence is creating a very real risk of World War III,” the former president said. “Look at what’s going on.”
For weeks, Mr. Biden has mobilized his administration and rallied allies in a bid to cool tensions spurred by Russia’s buildup of more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine.
Mr. Biden has emphasized diplomacy in dealing with the crisis and has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will face severe sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.
But with negotiations stalling, the U.S. government has fed fears that war may be inevitable. The State Department has ordered family members of U.S. Embassy staff in Kyiv to leave Ukraine and authorized the departure of some U.S. government employees. The Pentagon has placed 8,500 troops on standby for deployment to Eastern Europe in the event of a conflict.
Mr. Trump said the U.S. should focus on pressing issues at home before meddling in crises abroad, echoing his “America First” policy from his term in office.
“Washington is obsessing over how to protect Ukraine‘s border. But the most important border in the world right now for us is not Ukraine‘s border,” he said. “It’s America’s border and we do nothing about it.”
“The first duty of the American president is to defend the American border,” Mr. Trump said. “Before our leaders talk about invasions of other countries, they need to stop the invasion of this country.”
Mr. Trump also drew parallels to the two decades of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
“[Americans] are sick of politicians who … squander our strength and spill our blood all over the world,” he said. “In many cases for absolutely no reason by countries and for countries that don’t even want us there, and certainly don’t respect us.”
The non-interventionist stance has become more widely adopted by Trump-aligned conservatives in Congress.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, North Carolina Republican, conveyed the same sentiment in his remarks at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest in Phoenix last month.
“Instead of being the police force of the world, some people who want to say, ‘Oh my goodness, well you know what, there’s this terrible border crisis going on in Ukraine and Russia, Vladimir Putin, blah blah,’” Mr. Cawthorn said. “I don’t care. I really don’t.”
More hawkish Republicans in Congress have accused Mr. Biden of dithering in the face of Russian provocation and call on the administration to project U.S. power through tough diplomacy and firm economic sanctions as a means of avoiding a military clash, harkening to President Reagan’s “peace through strength” doctrine.
They say failing to effectively deal with Russian provocations will directly impact the U.S. standing globally.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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