Get ready for some real fireworks. Even Fox News doesn’t know which way to jump on this one.

Ron DeSantis is about to face a real baptism of fire in the area of foreign policy. He is now forced to show his foreign policy chops and the problem with that is that he doesn’t have any. Neither does Donald Trump. As ludicrous as Trump’s grasp of domestic issues was, it was nothing compared to the reality of world politics, where he was a laughingstock. And now he’s talking about WWIII.

This is making Ukraine a central issue in this campaign and now DeSantis has to take a stance, sound cogent, display skills that he doesn’t have, while Trump shrieks about the end of the world, playing to the peanut gallery. This is going to be a howler. Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Trump is signaling hard he intends to make limiting or ending Ukrainian war aid central to his campaign. “This thing has to stop, and it’s got to stop now,” Mr. Trump told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The United States should negotiate peace between these two countries, and I don’t think they should be sending very much.” He posted a video pledging to “clean house of all the warmongers and America-Last globalists,” while a Truth Social post hypes the risk of “WORLD WAR III.”

The position is perhaps unsurprising from a former president whose foreign policy in office was mercurial at best. And the ever-more-populist Mr. Trump sees an opening to rally a chunk of the base that is skeptical of military commitments abroad, so he is floating the false choice of a strong America globally or a strong America domestically. Add in Mr. Trump’s transitive Biden equation: If Joe Biden supports Ukraine and Mr. Biden is bad, it follows that support for Ukraine is bad. Or so he’s banking enough Republican voters will think.

That’s where it stands. And then along comes Fox News to underscore this editorial and call upon DeSantis to morph into Winston Churchill.

This is a big deal. DeSantis is Rupert Murdoch’s chosen golden boy. He’s supposed to pick up the GOP banner, don it, and race up the hill, carrying the day. But if cobbling together an impressive foreign policy plan is what’s required on DeSantis’s part, I wonder if he can cut the mustard. Listen to this clip, it sounds like Fox News is wondering, too.

As you just heard, this is one of the “wedge issues” because “Donald Trump has so remade the Republican party in his own image.”

So where does that leave Ron DeSantis? He’s only just skimmed this subject and now he finds himself in a do or die situation on this very topic. As WSJ says, “this is the first field test.”

But all eyes are on Ron DeSantis, who now looks certain to run. The Florida governor made news when he slammed Mr. Biden on Fox News for having a “blank check” policy toward Ukraine with no “strategic objective.” The press instantly slotted Mr. DeSantis into the Trump isolationist camp. Yet these few DeSantis lines hardly amount to policy. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy also uses the term “blank check,” though he supports Ukraine aid. He uses the phrase to describe Republican demands for greater transparency into Ukraine spending. Mr. DeSantis still has running room.

The temptation might be to follow Mr. Trump down this rabbit hole. Some will warn Mr. DeSantis that this is where Mr. Trump will hit him, framing him as a GOP pol who’ll drag the country into endless wars. Some will note numbers showing Republican support for Ukraine aid (slightly) waning. Mr. DeSantis’s advisers will tell him he can’t be seen to be on the same side as Democrats. There’s also the risk that Mr. Biden continues to slow-walk Ukrainian aid, giving Russia the upper hand and eroding public support further.

Yet it would be a mistake for Mr. DeSantis to cast his lot with Mr. Trump. Politically, he would lose a defining issue to the former president. The governor has an opportunity to contrast a bold, well-thought-out foreign policy with Mr. Trump’s opaque retreatism.

Oh yes, he has an opportunity. Too bad that opportunity and ability are not the same thing. But absolutely, I concur, Ron DeSantis has an opportunity to do this very thing. Maybe he should phone up this journalist and ask her how to do it, exactly. I mean, she reads newspapers and books and stuff, right?

It would muddy Mr. DeSantis’s ability to otherwise take a tough line on the world’s rogues, including China. It would give Mr. Biden—who is already gunning for Mr. DeSantis—an easy attack line. And it would put the governor crosswise with most congressional Republicans, many of whom are rooting for him.

Policy-wise, any presidential candidate needs to campaign as if he plans to win, and Mr. DeSantis might consider the world he’d inherit should Vladimir Putin prevail. A victorious Russia wouldn’t stop with Ukraine. China would delight in America’s retreat from the world stage and rush to fill the gap. Iran would double down on a bomb and on exerting greater hegemony over the Middle East. Peace through weakness never works.

I agree with all this. And so do we want to stay with our foreign policy specialist, our war president, Joe Biden. Or, do we want to go with Ron To The Rescue?

I don’t pretend to know who’s going to win the Republican primary. But this is a defining issue, if not the defining issue. On the one hand, you’ve got Know Nothing Trump, with zero ideas, who hollowly claims that he’ll be happy to stop the war in Ukraine and in 24 hours, too, only you have to elect him first. I don’t expect Trump to change his tune.

Then on the other hand you’ve got Ron DeSantis, who has displayed zero understanding of foreign policy, let alone a bent towards it. So what is he going to come up with? This is indeed a splendid opportunity to show that he has the stuff to be a U.S. president, and especially at a time when one of our allies is at war.

And a lot of the GOP would love to see the party move beyond Trump. If DeSantis can thread some delicate needle of not alienating the Trump base and coming up with a better plan of attack to secure Ukraine and make the world safe from Vladimir Putin, than Joe Biden has, he’ll have a captive audience. He can grab the GOP nomination in a walk.

I’m not holding my breath. I think these two negatives, Trump and DeSantis, might just cancel each other out. Man, I can’t wait until the debates.


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  1. I have to agree Ursula, the times are SO so fractured, the GOP has no core of common sense, no common plan for a future that we, as common man, can live with in harmony …

    The past has burned every Trump bridge, left him high and dry, still trying to pretend he knows anything at all, using every tired trick in his well-worn handbook, pushing everything nasty the Nazi used in WWII …

    Trump is so simple minded, he has absolutely lost ANY link to reality he might of had, and that would have been marginal at best …

    We ARE on thin ice, considering how deep Trump’s blood brother radical followers have gone and might rise again to vanquish a smooth solution to the Trump fiasco/GOP/Republican circus …

    However, this latest move to a showdown with Sad Sac in Florida COULD require new popcorn supplies … If it happens, what GOP lizard could save the GOP day?

  2. There is a great deal on the line regarding this war in Ukraine. Europe, as it is currently mapped, is certainly on the line and they had better be a sturdy bulwark against putie’s invasion. China is looking on for at least a couple of reasons. Xi is wondering what the U.S. will do when they decide to attack Taiwan AND he’d like to be better positioned economically and a good time to do this is when the U.S. is mucking about with Ukraine.

    Had we had Ms. Clinton as President starting in 2016 putie would not have attacked Ukraine. He wanted the orange shit gibbon in the white house because he needed stupidity in charge just so he could pinch off more of Ukraine likely as a lead in to obtaining more real estate from other countries. An ideal solution to this war would be a bullet in the head-putie’s head.

    • As much as I supported Hillary, given the fact that Putin went in and took over Crimea under Obama’s watch (with hardly any significant blowback or reaction), I doubt that Putin would’ve really hesitated in attacking Ukraine. I mean, one prevailing theory is that Putin waited to invade until after the 2022 Beijing Olympics and the invasion began more than a full year after Biden took office.

      Yes, a good part of that theory revolves around a complacent Trump just letting Putin have at it but it also seems really odd that Putin wouldn’t realize that Biden’s reaction might not be the same as Trump’s (especially with a full year of seeing Biden working to rebuild all of the relationships that Trump had strained) and made some significant changes to his invasion plans. I can’t believe Putin spent that year sticking to his original scheme of “invade Ukraine under the guise of a war games exercise with Belarus” when his little lapdog was playing around in his South Florida exile. Putin’s never really shown himself to be any kind of military genius but he’s spent decades in power, largely by reacting to the unexpected and turning it to his advantage.

      Now, I’ll grant that Putin might have been more willing to put his money into electing (or bribing) Ukrainian politicians that would just hand over chunks of territory that Putin wanted if Hillary had won in 2016 but I doubt that there would’ve been any real overall change in Putin’s overall plan to regain control (de facto or de jure) of Ukraine. Remember that the eastern part of Ukraine was already under the control of Russian separatists (who established their own republics with, I believe, the ultimate goal of rejoining Russia).


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