16:19 GMT17 February 2020
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    The second presidential debate marked a low point in US politics according to political commentators, showing America for what it is, "a nation in decline."

    The 2016 US presidential campaign has hit a new low, Gordon Duff, a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, writes in his article for New Eastern Outlook, commenting on the ongoing fierce competition for the While House.

    "The second presidential debate wasn't just an attack on reason itself, as most pundits agree, it laid bare America for what it is, a nation in decline, once believed the 'hope of the world,' now laid bare as simply 'nuts'," Duff underscores.

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has come under heavy criticism for "a series, seemingly endless, of tasteless comments and admissions of what may be legally defined as serial sexual assaults."

    For her part, Trump's competitor, Hillary Clinton has faced a new portion of leaked emails, recently released by WikiLeaks.  

    However, the revelations have neither narrowed nor widened the gap between the two candidates: according to the national polls, Clinton is still two-seven points ahead of Trump, Petr Akopov of Russian online newspaper Vzglyad highlights in his recent analytical report.

    "The double standard has long ruled America, where crude sexual practices, open corruption and blatant disregard for public duty is as common place as rain in the jungle," Duff notes, commenting on the matter.

    US conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan suggested that Trump's "most effective performance in the history of presidential debates on Sunday night" could have diminished the impact of the tape of crude and lewd remarks made by the Republican presidential nominee a decade ago.

    "As the moderators and Hillary Clinton scrambled to refocus on Trump's comments of a decade ago, Trump brought it back to Bill's criminal misconduct against women, his lying about it, and Hillary's aiding and abetting of the First Predator," Buchanan wrote in his op-ed for The American Conservative.

    "It was like a tawdry courtroom drama in an X-rated movie, a new low in presidential debates. But what it revealed is that if Trump is going down, his enemies will carry away their own permanent scars," the commentator added.

    According to Buchanan, Trump's misbehavior pales in comparison with Hillary Clinton's intention to introduce a "no-fly zone" in Syria, which is de facto opening the door to a potential US-Russian confrontation.

    "What she is suggesting are acts of war against Syria, and Russia if necessary, though Congress has never authorized a war on Syria, and Syria has not attacked us," Buchanan emphasized.

    At the same time, WikiLeaks' revelations have failed to deal a substantial blow to Clinton's campaign, Stephen Ebert, a US political analyst and translator, noted in his latest opinion piece for Vzglyad.

    Ebert assumed that the US public has got used to "explosive" disclosures about Hillary Clinton. Therefore the recent leak about Clinton having a hand in arming the Syrian opposition has not been perceived as an "information bomb" by the Americans.

    While some of Trump's supporters expected that WikiLeaks would shed light on Clinton's role in providing weapons directly to Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), their hopes haven't been met, Ebert underscored.

    He pointed out that instead the leak indicated that US weapons were delivered to the "Syrian moderate opposition" through Qatar. However, it's no news that the US has long been arming and training so-called "moderate" Syrian Islamists.

    Unfortunately, Washington's decades-long irresponsible policies in the Middle East and its unwillingness to designate Syrian jihadi groups cooperating with al-Nusra Front as terrorists remain largely neglected by US media, the political analyst noted.

    It is hard to predict the outcome of the US presidential election, Petr Akopov highlights, adding that even in the event of Trump's defeat the US domestic and foreign policies would never be the same. 

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    Tags:
    leaked tapes, email scandal, scandal, 2016 US Presidential election, WikiLeaks, U.S. Department of State, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Europe, Syria, United States, Russia, Middle East
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