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Opinion
Niall Ferguson

Joe Biden Could End Up Being a Wartime President

Notwithstanding his pledges of uplift and healing, history suggests post-pandemic peace is rare, and Democratic wars are not.

A vision of the future?

A vision of the future?

Photographer: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America
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Successful Democratic candidates for the presidency of the United States invariably campaign with promises of domestic largesse and moral uplift. They nearly always end up taking their country to war. Can Joe Biden be a rare exception to that rule, if he succeeds in defeating Donald Trump on November 3? That will depend not just on how well he and his national security team conduct U.S. foreign policy. It will also depend on how stable the world around them is. The bad news is that post-pandemic peace is another historical rarity.

First, the Democratic Party’s amazing century-plus track record of running on progressive policies and then going to war. Consider Woodrow Wilson, reviled by today’s progressives for his racist views, but nominated and elected in 1912 as a progressive.