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Domestic and Foreign – Blurring

Posted on Friday, February 4, 2022
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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2 Comments
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Today, the old division between domestic and foreign policy is blurring – with major electoral implications. In a world where China, Europe, and countless countries affect our life – for good and bad – old distinctions are dying. Data and logic show what abroad affects us here.

Examples are countless, but let’s narrow them – then look at electoral cycles, to see how much the world is changing. What happens overseas is now – almost automatically – important here.

Right now, we have a standoff with China, near war-footing via NATO with Russia, contend with international supply chain disruptions, foreign reliance, global inflation, COVID containment, and other international ties, all affecting our markets, expectations, and security.

Unpacking the numbers, the reality is domestic and foreign issues are blurring – becoming almost interchangeable, as never before. This will affect elections – 2022 and presidential in 2024.

Already, Americans are deeply uneasy about Biden-Harris and how they deal with foreign foes and friends, their adverse effect on our economy, energy availability, national security, credibility, and peace of mind. Affecting our lives are their foreign failures. Most see this.

Along the traditional and physical seams between foreign and domestic, they are also failing Open borders – with threats pouring into the US, affecting drug abuse, street crime, homelessness, gang prevalence, other indicia of public health, safety, and security – is affecting domestic respect for law.

At the same time, we see a hemorrhaging of US credibility abroad, Biden’s horrific, indefensible, deadly Afghanistan pullout, cratering relations with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and – most critically – our longstanding allies. Other examples – historically significant – continue to mount.

Looking back, there are times when foreign policy failures hit US elections hard – and we are in another one. Historically, the connection between fumbled foreign policy and election loss was high, but today the link seems so high foreign policy almost becomes domestic policy.

What follows is a snapshot of how elections are affected by foreign policy – and what lies ahead. 

Looking back, students of history know, in some cycles, foreign policy looms large. Take the run-up to World Wars I and II, Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 70s, the Middle East in the 1970s, Soviet aggression from the 1950s through the 80s, later Panama, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan. 

Polls are interesting. Asked what the “most important” issue facing America was, different election cycles put different priorities on what happens overseas. In 2020, foreign policy issues were “most important” for only two percent of the electorate. But that is not always so.

In 2016, Gallup polling showed foreign policy was important to 10 percent. In 2014, to 17 percent. Yet back in 2012, only five percent. Some elections stand out. In 2008, with the Iraq and Afghan engagements dragging, Pew Research found 16 percent put foreign policy top.

In 2006, with war afoot, CBS found 41 percent put foreign policy top, Harris found 55 percent. If the nation is stuck in irons, drifting backward, losing credibility, or placing citizens in danger, we get concerned. Even in 2004, stumbling in Iraq, 40 percent put foreign policy at the top.

A year after the 9-11 attacks, two-thirds or 64 percent – by Harris poll – put foreign policy tops. By contrast, when all seems well, reputation high, foreign Allies firm, foreign adversaries quiet – like 1998 – only one percent focused abroad, three percent in 1996. 

But when major issues – good or bad – dominate, like the collapsing Soviet Union in the early 1990s, eyes search the horizon. Thus, in 1990, foreign affairs was number one for 39 percent. When Vietnam was of concern in 1972, 39 percent put foreign policy highest in Gallup.

Are there trends, helping predict elections in 2022 and 2024? Yes. In the 1950s and 1960s, foreign policy was not a focus, but after 1972 it began growing. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Iran hostage crisis under Carter made it big in 1980, again in 1984.

Today, most see foreign policy as an ascendant – a big issue for all of us, for obvious reasons. Our economy is tightly tied to others, adversaries, and China, while Europe depends on Russia.

Beyond this, threats from Iran, China, North Korea, and elsewhere – are worrisome, existential. We are now in a zone of potentially proliferating threats. Compounding these realities are other factors.

Broadly, many see weaker alliances, more aggressive adversaries (think Russia-Ukraine, China-Taiwan, Iran terrorism), faster communication, greater international connections (via social media and personal devices), a new vulnerability in markets hometown security, consumer goods.

What is the real impact for 2022 and 2024? Currently, most Americans see two things clearly:  Biden-Harris and Democrat policies are failing abroad, and foreign policy failures affect them. 

In short, in 2022, everything from interest rates, inflation, energy availability, to surging illegal aliens, street crime, homicides, new vulnerabilities, potential wars, health scares, failed leadership in Afghanistan and on China make people – unsettled. These profound foreign failures with Democrats in control – will markedly affect 2022 and perhaps even more 2024.

If people are smart – on both sides of the aisle – they will realize:  Foreign and domestic events, relationships, and policies are now wholly blurred. Foreign failures directly affect elections.

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Nolan Kuborne
Nolan Kuborne
2 years ago

Wake up call !!!

Nolan Kuborne
Nolan Kuborne
2 years ago

Wake up call !!!

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