Acclaimed writer and historian Jay Winik has joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as its first historian-in-residence. A New York Times best-selling author, Winik will spend the year at CFR looking at lessons from history for today’s pressing foreign policy challenges.
Donald Trump began the final presidential debate in what was, for him, an unexpected fashion. He was subdued, spoke calmly, and sounded like a conventional Republican. He promised to oppose abortion, support the Second Amendment, and appoint Supreme Court justices who “will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted.” But about halfway through, Trump made one crazy, false statement after another. It was a farrago of falsehoods the likes of which no one has ever seen...since Trump’s last debate. What does it tell you about the future of the Republican Party that so many ordinary Republicans seemed to thrill to his misstatements and vicious attacks?
Donald Trump’s attempt to assign blame for his potential defeat is violating the most basic tenet of democracy: The willingness of one side to accept defeat at the polls and acknowledge the legitimacy of the winning side. That is something that candidates such as Richard Nixon in 1960 and Al Gore in 2000 did even when there were legitimate questions of election fraud. They realized that at some point pursuing their own ambitions would fray the very fabric of our democracy. Trump either doesn’t know that or doesn’t care.
American voters still favor an active U.S. role in the world but disagree more than they used to about how that role should be exercised. They are increasingly at odds about two big issue clusters—globalization and military intervention. These divisions will not keep a new president from trying to build bipartisan support for foreign policy, but the poll numbers are clear—the job is getting harder.
Trump’s rhetoric at the debate was more dictator than leader of the free world. The grass-roots fervor for Trump suggests that the Republican Party may be beyond salvation — and that the republic itself could be in peril if in the future we see some demagogue who is smoother than Trump and devoid of his debilitating personal flaws.
As America prepared for the foreign-policy fireworks in Sunday night’s second presidential debate, a town hall format co-moderated by ABC News’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, columnists posed the questions they’d want to put to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—and why it’s so important that America’s next president have the answer. In no particular order, here are their toughest questions.