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.
Our democracy is under attack by Russia, but almost no one is treating the situation with the gravity it deserves. President Obama is loathe to retaliate. Would-be president Donald Trump denies that any attack is happening. And the media are acting as enablers for the attackers.
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.
Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan was once hailed as the omnipotent “maestro” of the U.S. economy, but his reputation suffered in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. In The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan, a new biography based on five years of research and unmatched access to Greenspan, Sebastian Mallaby presents a nuanced assessment of one of the most influential economic statesmen of the twentieth century and issues a warning about the future of finance. The story of Greenspan, according to Mallaby, is the story of the making of modern finance, for good and for ill.
In the aftermath of the leaked tapes that showcase Donald Trump’s lewd comments on women, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon addresses the intersection of “how we see women; how we treat women; how we promote women; and whether or not we see them as people we respect or people we lunge for.”
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.
Despite evidence that shows that women make unique contributions to peace and security processes, they remain severely underrepresented in military, policy, and peacekeeping forces around the world. Jamille Bigio highlights a new bill led by Senators Barbara Boxer and Jeanne Shaheen that would “require the U.S. State Department to encourage other countries to increase the number of women recruited and promoted in their security forces.” She also argues for better quality training among security forces and conversation of the U.S. National Action Plan on women, peace, and security into legislation.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »