What the Next President Faces

Of the presidents in the modern era, many have been dealt a difficult hand by history, but perhaps none more so than Donald Trump.

In 1952, Harry Truman was in his third year of a stalemated war in Korea that was costing 200 American lives every week. He lost the New Hampshire primary to Sen. Estes Kefauver and decided to pack it in.

In 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson had also been challenged in New Hampshire, by Sen. Eugene McCarthy. And, he, too, had on his hands a seemingly endless Asian war if he was not prepared to escalate militarily and add hundreds of thousands more troops to the 500,000 already in Vietnam.

Like Truman before him, LBJ stood down.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter also had a challenge from within his party — Edward Kennedy. And for the entire last year of his presidency, 52 U.S. hostages were held in Teheran while Carter presided over an economy where the interest rates had hit 21% and inflation 13%.

Trump had no primary challenger. He had not taken us into any new wars. And he had begun 2020 with the U.S. economy firing on all cylinders. But it all crashed in March and April in the worst pandemic in a century, which destroyed his economy and has since consumed a quarter of a million American lives.

October of Trump’s reelection year saw a new wave of COVID-19 infections and the bottom fall out of the stock market.

Given the cards he has been dealt in 2020, and the hatred of the media he daily confronts, it is astonishing that Trump retains his energy and enthusiasm for the battle. Most presidents would have long ago been broken.

Thus it is that, four days before the election, Trump is decidedly the underdog.

With the popular vote surely lost, Trump has to sweep almost all the battleground states -- Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- while holding onto all the states he won in 2016. A tall order.

Should Joe Biden win, he would be, on Jan. 20, 2021, the oldest and most visibly enfeebled leader to win the presidency in the history of the republic, with the possible exception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945.

Biden would have to deal with an economy that, if the stock market remains a reliable lead indicator, may be tanking anew even as the COVID-19 epidemic consumes a thousand American lives daily.

And foreign policy, that lost issue of the campaign of 2020, will be clamoring anew for the president's attention.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China is increasingly defiant of the U.S. and openly applying military pressure upon Taiwan, matching U.S. arms sales to the island with ever more direct threats.

Earlier this month, Beijing celebrated the 75th anniversary of China's intervention in the Korean War, where its troops suffered heavy losses but caused most of the 36,000 U.S. dead in that conflict.

And, this fall, a war broke out in the South Caucasus that, if not contained, could draw in Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh -- an

Armenian-populated enclave contained wholly within Azerbaijan's borders -- has resisted efforts by Russia and the U.S. to mediate a truce. The Azeris appear determined to resolve the territorial dispute in the way Narendra Modi of India lately resolved the dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.

Russia has an alliance with Armenia and bases inside. The Turks are supporting Muslim Azerbaijan, and, with the Israelis, have been providing the Azeris with modern weaponry such as advanced drones, which have taken a devastating toll on Armenian troops and armor.

On the cultural war front, France and Turkey, both members of the NATO alliance, are trading national insults over a crackdown on Islamists by President Emmanuel Macron after a Chechen Muslim beheaded a French teacher who used the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the prophet as examples of protected speech and press freedoms in secular France.

Macron's perceived attacks on Islam triggered a personal insult from Turkey's President Erdogan. This led to the recall of the French ambassador to Turkey. The clash over the blasphemous cartoons and the beheading of the teacher have provoked anti-French demonstrations across the Muslim world.

In the latest affront, Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of Erdogan lifting the burqa of a woman, similar to the cartoon of the prophet that precipitated the 2015 massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

European nations are lining up behind France, while the leaders of Muslim nations such as Bangladesh and Pakistan are damning the French for tolerating the ridicule of their religious beliefs.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," Voltaire is said to have responded to Rousseau.

That may reflect French values. But, as Kipling wrote, "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat."

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." 

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7 thoughts on “What the Next President Faces”

  1. I believe that President Trump I a very strong person…physically and intellectually. He has stood up to incredibly hideous treatment by the liberal-bought media.,fueled and led by a very hateful, jealous Speaker of the House. Joe Biden has been in government” for nearly 50 years and has accomplished Nothing !!! He is now senile and physically debilitated by old age; only comes out of his pajamas if/when he has to do so. to make a “speech” or an appearance. for his so-called campaign. It would not surprise me if it were divulged that many of his “heavy contributors” have been bought by campaign promises, i.e. more government graft. more baloney, more losses to the hard-working American citizens who will be ripped off even more is Dipstick Biden is elected.
    President Trump has made great accomplishments – extracting the USA from ‘agreements’ made by ny his predecessors which were virtually ignored by the other “participants” and very damaging financially to the United State, and,Mr. Trump been bombarded with lies, innuendos, and other malicious baloney, largely originated or sponsored by the aforementioned Speaker.
    Mr. Trump is not perfect…no surprise there….is anyone else perfect? Are you? Am I? Can you name one. ?? I didn’t think so. Does anyone want a president who shows up for work and 10 a.m. and goes home for the day at noon?

  2. The real scoop is the criminals we have here willing to sell us out to china. We need to deal with this and when we are again united no one can oppose us. President Trump is fighting the elite wealthy and their greed to sell us out to china for power and money. These U.S. elites have made alliances across the globe and their plan is global. In their world people will be nothing more than sheep. Animals used to achieve their goals. Vote Trump and Fight for your freedom. If we fall so does the world.

  3. Our next president will be our current President!
    President Trumps next task will be how to properly bury all the communist democrats currently within our borders
    I personally recommend bull dozers at landfills not to close to town. For all democrats stink!
    They smell of Satan and hate
    May God bless their worthless soles
    For they have proven they are not human

  4. Two simple questions.

    1. How did it happen that Joseph Biden, while in the basement without practically lifting a finger, was elected in 2020 president ,

    while his opponent ,really working his ass off, still fell behind . Since miracles don’t happened there must be some very powerful forces behind it.

    2. Can our country afford at this stage a low energy President whose mental capacity is below 100% ( to put it mildly ) .

    Then in a year or two Kamala Harris may take over the presidency.

    A challenging historical and moral issue for your Frontine is to identify those forces before future historians handle it .

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