Robert Y. Shapiro, the former chair of the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, says Democrats in the House of Representatives have launched an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump because he has abused presidential power as a tool to ask the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation against Joe Biden, a possible rival in the 2020 presidential faceoff.
“The Ukrainian issue is about the abuse of presidential power to use the tools of government and foreign policy against a political opponent,” Shapiro tells the Tehran Times.
Professor Shapiro says, “there are principles at stake that override any concern that impeachment could hurt the Democrats.”
Following is the text of the interview with Professor Shapiro.
Q: The dominant ideology in the United States of America is Republicanism and classical liberalism. But Donald Trump seems to be a mercantile individual, and he uses American nationalism to his advantage. What do you think of it?
It is not so much nationalism but rather he benefited from being outside the Republican party and could set his own path consistent with most Republican party ideological goals but also setting his own course in the immigration and trade issues.
Q: Thinkers such as John Merschheimer believe that America has pursued liberal foreign policy since World War II, and it is necessary for America to abandon this policy and act realistically in foreign policy. What is your opinion?
There is an active debate about this among foreign policy and political experts. My own view is for a middle course between realism and liberalism, but with priority given to the use of diplomacy and alliances and international organizations over military force.
Q: Democrats approved impeachment process against Trump in the House of Representatives. Why is the impeachment debate over Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president continuing given that the issue of impeachment had long been discussed?
The key here is that the Ukrainian issue is about the abuse of presidential power to use the tools of government and foreign policy against a political opponent. This is a clearer and simpler issue for one or more articles of impeachment than any other issues that have been raised. Moreover, there are principles at stake that override any concern that impeachment could hurt the Democrats.
Q: What is your prediction of the US presidential election results in light of Trump’s impeachment debate?
I think that the impeachment investigation may in the end mobilize Democratic voters enough so that the Democrats will be able to recapture the electoral votes in enough states to win the presidency. But this is very far from certain and Trump could well win the electoral vote again (but will lose the popular vote again).
Interview by Fatemeh Mohammadipour