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Presidential debates ignore US role in the world

By David Singer - posted Friday, 23 October 2020

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) failure to insist on foreign policy being top and centre of the final debate between President Trump and Joe Biden is contrary to America's national interest and should be condemned.

The CPD self-describing itself as "non-partisan" on its web site is the very antithesis of that lofty principle.

Foreign policy goes to the heart of:

  • Maintaining America's security,
  • Protecting US citizens against external threats and
  • Justifying billions of dollars being expended on the military annually at the expense of other worthy internal and foreign assistance demands where there is never enough money to go around.

The Trump campaign has written to the CPD blasting its decision:

We understand that Joe Biden is desperate to avoid conversations about his own foreign policy record, especially since President Trump has secured historic peace agreements among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. We recall that Biden's former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, maintains that Biden has been "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." Biden has supported endless wars and given aid and comfort to our adversaries, including Iran, which was delivered pallets loaded with mountains of cash just as four Americans were released from captivity in Tehran. Biden also has advanced the interests of China over his 47 years as a Washington politician, putting their concerns ahead of those of America workers. New information recently revealed indicates that Biden himself was mentioned as a financial beneficiary of a deal arranged by his son Hunter and a communist Chinese-related energy company. If a major party candidate for President of the United States is compromised by the Communist Party of China, this is something Americans deserve to hear about, but it is not surprising the Biden would want to avoid it. It is completely irresponsible for the Commission to alter the focus of this final debate just days before the event, solely to insulate Biden from his own history.

Trump and Biden need to debate their very different policies on China and the Middle East.

Long before the recent emergence of Hunter Biden's alleged email files - whose authenticity still remains undisputed - Biden's relaxed attitude to China strongly differed from Trump's no-nonsense confrontational approach to handling China during the last four years.

On 23 October 2019 Biden – vying for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination – said:


We talk about China as our competitor. We should be helping and benefiting ourselves by doing that. But the idea that China is going to eat our lunch - I remember the debates in the late '90s, remember, Japan was going to own us? Give me a break.

The CPD decision will deny intending voters their right to know if this is still Biden's China policy stance and the implications this has for America.

Trump's 2020 peace plan - providing for an independent Palestinian State in Gaza and up to 70% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation - offers a pathway to ending the 100 years unresolved conflict between Jews and Arabs.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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