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Inside the Beltway: Reagan’s foreign policy doctrine contrasted to Biden’s approach to global unrest

Let’s all look back to another time when the idea of “strategic deterrence” and “peace through strength” could be found in political conversations and news coverage. Those two Cold War-era phrases are associated with President Reagan, who deployed them on the global stage as the nation faced some hair-raising times. One Texas Republican lawmaker has revisited this thinking.

“Since President Biden has come into office, he’s projected weakness. And when you project weakness, you invite aggression and war. When you project strength like Reagan talked about, you invite peace,” Rep. Michael McCaul told “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream in a wide-ranging conversation.

“Because of this weakness, our aggressors — foreign nation adversaries — are on the march. They are getting aggressive against our interest in the United States because of Biden’s weakness. And I know that President Trump, at least when he was in office, you know, they feared him,” Mr. McCaul said during the conversation, which included references to Russia President Vladimir Putin’s possible plan to place nuclear weapons in Belarus as well as China’s aggressive stance towards Taiwan.

What did Reagan do?

Revisiting the “peace through strength” idea prompted the Beltway to review what it was that Ronald Reagan actually did when he was in office.

Here’s some terse insight in a partial quote from an online biography maintained at the White House website:

“In foreign policy, Reagan sought to achieve ‘peace through strength.’ During his two terms he increased defense spending 35%, but sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union. In dramatic meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he negotiated a treaty that would eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Reagan declared war against international terrorism, sending American bombers against Libya after evidence came out that Libya was involved in an attack on American soldiers in a West Berlin nightclub,” the outline said.

“By ordering naval escorts in the Persian Gulf, he maintained the free flow of oil during the Iran-Iraq war. In keeping with the Reagan Doctrine, he gave support to anti-Communist insurgencies in Central America, Asia, and Africa. Overall, the Reagan years saw a restoration of prosperity, and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp,” the outline concluded.

Trump appeal persists

It is a complicated week for former President Donald Trump, who hosted a massive rally in Texas over the weekend — but now must face major legal encounters as the week progresses.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump still leads a field of eight other potential White House candidates in the 2024 election, says a hefty new Reuters/Ipsos poll. Mr. Trump’s seven high-profile rivals include governors and former governors, a former vice president and two lawmakers.

The wide-ranging poll also offered insight into underlying influences which steer those voters’ choices.

“Registered voters are more likely to support a presidential candidate who supports increasing police funding to fight crime (80%), supports allowing teachers to discuss system racism at school (57%), and who supports building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico (54%),” the poll analysis said.

Find the specific numbers and the poll particulars in the Poll du Jour at the column’s end.

Keeping count

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is monitoring the whereabouts of President Biden, noting that he has taken his

“fifth straight weekend trip to Delaware” and that Mr. Biden also promised three weeks ago that he would visit East Palestine, Ohio — site of the toxic train derailment.

“It’s been nearly 50 days since the derailment and Biden has time for everything else but the people of East Palestine,” Ms. McDaniel said in a written statement, which also included this tally of presidential leisure:

“Since taking office, Biden has spent 314 days — 40% of his presidency — on vacation. This weekend will represent Biden’s 315th, 316th, and 317th vacation days. Including this weekend, Biden has spent 58 of 113 weekends in Delaware since taking office. Overall, this is Biden’s 69th trip to Delaware,” the tally advised.

Who’s in charge?

It’s a reality: The 2024 presidential election is creeping up on us, as are the bodacious political conventions that accompany it. The GOP appears good to go, however.

The aforementioned Ronna McDaniel has revealed that Indiana Republican Party National Committee chairwoman Anne Hathaway will serve as chairwoman of the GOP’s Committee on Arrangements — this is the intrepid person who is actually in charge of organizing the 2024 Republican National Convention, scheduled for July 15-18 at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

Ms. Hathaway has a helpful attitude.

“I look forward to the work ahead that will culminate in the nomination of the next president and vice president of the United States,” she said in a written statement.

In addition, Ron Kaufman will assist Ms. Hathaway in planning the convention by serving as general chairman. He currently serves as the national committeeman for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was previous treasurer of the Republican National Committee and chaired the site selection committee for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

He is, Mrs. McCarthy noted, “a tireless warrior for the Republican Party.”

Poll du jour

44% of U.S. adults say they would support Donald Trump as the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

30% would support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; 11% “don’t know” who they will support.

5% would support former vice president Mike Pence, 4% former U.S. representative for Wyoming Liz Cheney.

3% would support South Dakota Gov. Nikki Haley, 1% would support former CIA/Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

1% would support former New York governor Chris Christie, 1% would support Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

1% would support some “other” candidate

Source: A Reuters/IPSOS poll of 4,410 U.S. Adults conducted March 14-20.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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