Donald and Melania Trump as newlyweds on Larry King Live in 2005
I write this en route from London to Milwaukee, where the first televised Republican debate for presidential hopefuls will take place on Wednesday.
I have written previously in this column about a little-known candidate to watch out for, Vivek Ramaswamy, and I remain convinced that he is someone to keep an eye on. But in many ways, this first round of debates will be all about the man who won’t be there: Donald Trump.
Overnight on Truth Social, Trump again confirmed his intention not to take part. He said the public already know who he is (you can say that again!) and cited his presidential record in achieving energy independence, strong borders, a robust military, plus cuts to taxes and regulation.
He further boasted of having bequeathed to the country in 2020 zero inflation and an economy which he described as the strongest in history.
Not unreasonably, he has also pointed out that he is well ahead of his rivals in the polls, adding: “Reagan didn’t do it, and neither did others. People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?”
READ MORE: Donald Trump missing Republican primary debates may ‘help Biden’
As a man who doesn’t mind being the centre of attention, it’s safe to say that his presence will be felt on Wednesday, despite his absence.
But since the latest indictment against Trump on August 14, in which a prosecutor in the US state of Georgia accused him and 18 others of trying to overturn the 2020 electoral defeat, an irrational fear and hatred of him seems to be taking America – and the West – in a dangerous direction. I believe this could have consequences for the future.
Trump is now facing dozens of different criminal charges – both personal and political – and most fair-minded Americans can see that he is up against nothing less than an Establishment-led witch-hunt.
If citizens lose respect for the judiciary on the basis that they feel it is increasingly politicised, and then decide to take matters into their own hands, America could be subject to the most potent split since the Civil War.
Any further dents in the democratic armour of the world’s superpower would be terrible news for us all. For the fact is that the globe faces some deeply serious challenges at present, and we can ill afford distractions.
China on brink of collapse – US could come crashing down next[CHINA]
Donald Trump confirms he will surrender to face charges in Georgia[TRUMP]
Donald Trump confirms he will not attend Republican presidential debates[DEBATES]
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President Xi’s economy is in tatters – now he could invade Taiwan
At the top of many observers’ lists is China. Its economy is in a worryingly fragile state just now. The latest available figures show that in June, unemployment levels among 16 to 24-year-olds there had rocketed to an alarming 21.3 per cent.
As a result of this, the Communist government has announced that it is to stop publishing youth unemployment figures – a blatant suppression of information straight out of one of George Orwell’s novels. At the same time, China’s multi-trillion dollar property market is in freefall, as supply comfortably outstrips demand. Western investment in China has also collapsed.
It’s anybody’s guess as to how this will play out in the short to medium term, but things are looking very bad indeed. Yet being on this helter-skelter could make it more – not less – likely that China may try to invade Taiwan within the next year. Amid this catalogue of domestic woes, President Xi may well conclude that a show of military might shore up his own increasingly shaky position.
Indeed, on Saturday, China flew more than 40 military jets around the island as part of an “exercise” that is being seen in the West as a show of intent. China also released videos showing soldiers in “war-time positions”.
Were a full-scale attack on the disputed territory of Taiwan to be successful, global instability would surely follow. Were it to fail – presumably at great financial cost to China – its economy would collapse further still.
Either way, global security would be affected.
On the basis of all this, the West is in dire need of strong leadership, and it is to America that every nation will look to offer it. But it is obvious that Joe Biden – who has announced he is standing as the Democratic candidate in 2024 despite being a very doddery 80 years of age at the time of writing – simply cannot provide it. (Biden, incidentally, has his own questions to face thanks to the business activities of his son, Hunter).
Trump may be a maverick, but he surprised many during his presidency with his grasp of foreign affairs. Biden, by contrast, has shown highly questionable judgment and famously low stamina.
Will any of these very real global concerns be addressed by any of the Republican candidates debating in Milwaukee this week? I will be there to find out – and I’m looking forward to it.
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