In a time in which many Americans are still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, crushed by student debt, and worried about the already catastrophic effects of climate change, one can be forgiven for not consistently thinking of the potential ramifications of military withdrawals in regions thousands of miles away. However, what we have failed to realize thus far is that America’s role in the world is vital to the enforcement of decades-long international norms and without the world’s only benevolent superpower, the world faces a much steeper battle in fighting the most difficult transnational issues.Thus far, the themes of the 2020 Democratic primary election have been healthcare, climate change and gun control, with televised debates only paying limited lip service to the very real foreign policy challenges that the next president will face in having to clean up this administration’s array of foreign policy blunders from North Korea to Syria. The Trump administration has pursued a scorched-earth policy toward important international agreements such as the Paris Climate Accords, NAFTA, the bilateral INF Treaty with Russia, and most glaringly, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.While some of Trump’s policies have been chalked up to his predisposition against Obama-era policies, we must take a deeper look into the underlying themes of Trump’s argument, particularly his desire to shed the American burden of leadership in international agreements. While there is merit to the argument that America shoulders an oversized share of the responsibility in military and financial commitments to international institutions, we must consider the ramifications of leaving these agreements.Though American overseas engagement is costly, it has unequivocally proven to beat the alternative. When America retreated behind the seas, we witnessed countless millions slaughtered in great power conflict in the first half of the 20th century. The period following World War II has seen the longest successive period free of great power conflict in modern history. This is a result of the strength of the institutions that our foreign policy has created, from NATO to the arms limitation treaties that de-escalated tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.The swift carnage in northern Syria is a sobering example of the delicate balance that American leadership maintains in the world’s most troubled regions. As the world becomes more connected through ever-evolving technology and China continues its rapid rise, the US must reverse course away from creeping isolationism and reassume its role as the leader of the free world, or risk ceding international policymaking to China a far less benevolent power, and leaving our allies vulnerable. For this reason, it is imperative that we scrutinize the foreign policy records of the Democratic field.Some candidates like to tout their ambitious plans to revolutionize the American health system, but are silent on the role that America can play in leading the fight against transnational issues. The Democratic field should constantly seek to expose the weaknesses of the Trump doctrine and highlight the importance of international agreements to ensure that the world’s only benevolent superpower is the leader of the free world, not China or Russia.The writer is a recently graduated government major and Middle Eastern studies minor at Dartmouth College, and a current intern on a leading Democratic presidential campaign.