Editorial: Different strokes: Biden and Trump are not the same on conflict

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For anyone upset with President Joe Biden’s approach to how Israel is pursuing Hamas in the war that Hamas began with the Oct. 7 pogrom (and there are plenty in his own party’s left saying Biden is too inured to the terrible suffering of Gazans), what is their alternative? Donald Trump? Do those critics think that Trump cares anything at all about Palestinian lives? Is Trump going to be tougher than Biden on Trump’s pal Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu?

Trump felt so close to Netanyahu in 2020, coordinating the Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords peace deals in the summer and fall of 2020, that Trump was livid when Netanyahu congratulated Biden on winning the November election.

Of the two presidents, only one has an illegal Israeli West Bank settlement named after him, and it’s not a coincidence which, while Biden has bumped heads with Netanyahu for decades. The drumbeat of stories at Biden’s supposed ire with Netanyahu and his heavy-handed military strategy behind the scenes begs the question of why Biden doesn’t bring these disagreements to the fore. If private dissatisfaction and back-room diplomatic entreaties haven’t done the trick, and Biden is really so concerned over Israel’s lack of minimization of civilian casualties, then he’s undoubtedly the best-positioned foreign leader to force a change.

The Biden/Trump differences on Ukraine are even more pronounced, with Biden rallying the world to defend Ukraine and Trump siding up to Vladimir Putin. The Senate bill that passed with 22 Republicans (nearly half of them!) in support provides desperately needed military assistance to the besieged Ukrainian forces, as well as money for Israel and Taiwan and billions for food, water and humanitarian aid for Gaza and other places.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was deft and patient as the Trumpite wing of the GOP Senate did their filibuster and he brought the bill to passage with 70 votes after an all night session. House Speaker Mike Johnson is refusing to let the legislation onto the floor, and so, as we’ve been urging, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries must proceed to collect signatures for a discharge petition. As the Senate showed, there are enough Republicans who want to do the right thing, regardless of Trump’s tantrums.

Trump’s inane suggestions that there both weren’t and wouldn’t be acute global conflicts under him is an assertion too stupid to meaningfully fact-check, though we’ll note that he seems to have forgotten about his staunch support of the Saudi proxy war in Yemen. Just this week, Trump invited a new European war, encouraging Russia to attack NATO countries that didn’t pony up on defense funds, apparently misunderstanding these as bills that these countries pay directly to the United States (we wonder if he learned the protection racket from his mob lawyer Roy Cohn).

A world under a second Trump presidency is a world of more war, more autocratic expansionism, less concern for civilians, diplomacy replaced entirely by shoot first, ask questions later. In short, more dangerous and far more unconcerned with human rights.

Let’s keep criticizing and pushing Biden, just as it is worth pushing and criticizing every president as they make choices that indelibly affect the lives of millions. But let’s not forget what the Trump vision entails.

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