Donald Trump said yesterday that we’re “on the brink of World War Three” after a suicide drone killed three US soldiers and injured a further thirty-four in Jordan. “This attack would never have happened if I was president, not even a chance — just like the Iranian-backed Hamas attack on Israel would never have happened, the war in Ukraine would never have happened and we would now have peace throughout the world,” said Trump. “Our country cannot survive with Joe Biden as commander-in-chief.”
It’s cynical, of course, to score political points over military deaths. Yesterday’s US combat fatalities were reportedly the first in three years under Joe Biden. Some forty-five servicemen were killed in the war in Afghanistan under Donald Trump — a conflict Joe Biden ended in 2021.
Americans are comparing Trump’s record of relative success with Biden’s three years of growing instability
But Trump is not necessarily wrong to point out that the world has become more unstable under Biden. Trump wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, but he didn’t because he feared it would be a mess. Biden’s withdrawal was shambolic. He does appear to have emboldened the West’s enemies — Russia, Iran and China — and made global affairs more fraught.
Trump’s approach — what he calls, in caps, “PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH” — did also contain Iran, which the White House has blamed for the weekend’s attack. “Thanks to my maximum pressure policy, the Iranian regime could barely scrape two dollars together to fund their terrorist proxies.”
This is hyperbole, though Trump’s scrapping of the Obama-Biden era nuclear deal did put Tehran on the back foot. The Biden administration has tried a contradictory approach of continuing the Trump-era strategy of isolating Iran, while at the same time reviving the Obama presidency’s policy of accommodation. It unfroze some $6 billion of Iranian assets in Qatar and, even after the October 7 Hamas atrocities in Israel, another $10 billion in Iraq.
Foreign policy is playing an unusually significant part in the 2024 presidential election. Americans are comparing Trump’s record of relative success with Biden’s three years of growing instability — and reaching their own conclusions. That might in part explain Trump’s lead in the polls.
From the Middle East to Ukraine to possibly Taiwan, the America-led world order looks increasingly feeble. The Biden administration has vowed to avenge what it calls the “significant escalation” last weekend. What happens next could decide whether or not Trump’s dark warning proves true.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.