Muftic: Which candidate would not make it worse
If it comes down to a race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, voters will have a choice between which one of them would be the best to conduct our foreign policy and win our fight against ISIS and their kindred terrorists. The question could also be it is not just the one who would make us greater, but who would not make it worse.
Clinton was a team player, whether she initially agreed with the decision or not. In any case, in politics criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy becomes criticism of her. So should his successes be attributed to her, to be fair, and there is no one in the race with more experience in foreign policy or ready to be commander in chief day one.
A successful foreign policy also depends on wisdom and experience. Trump has neither. Trump’s response to a question on MSNBC’s Morning Joe lately, asking him who he is consulting on foreign policy, was not reassuring. He answered “I’m speaking with myself. I have a very good brain”.
For insular Americans the argument put forth by Trump and the GOP sounds plausible, that the US is weak and disrespected. They tell us often enough that it becomes a truism. However, a Pew research poll taken of residents in 40 countries concluded that, except for Russia and Israel, President Obama is more respected than his predecessors because they trust him to make the right decisions. What is true is that Obama has kept the US from engaging in more major wars and he has significantly reduced our ground troop commitments, a policy for which he was largely elected twice. His fight against ISIS has relied on air and drone strikes and taking out their command, control, and leadership, inserting more special forces when called for and beefing up allies and Iraq forces. Most in the GOP have only called for more of the same, and quibbled over the numbers.
The exception is Trump who would like to” make America great again.” His strategy is to ban Muslims “temporarily” from the US, to bomb ISIS into the sands along with civilians, reinstate torture, and then when we have finished, simply withdraw. To gain respect, he believes we get it by the use or threat of military might. Simply withdrawing after successful military action, Trump’s exit strategy, indicates he has learned nothing from the Iraq experience, other than to defeat ISIS “we must get other nations involved”.
“Getting others involved’ would be hard for Trump since he has made himself persona non grata with critical allies. British Prime Minister David Cameron has criticized Trump’s Muslim ban as “divisive, stupid and wrong” and Trump had to cancel trips to Jordan and Israel. German newspapers call him ‘a bad joke that might become reality’ and leaders there tagged him the ‘Ugly American’ that has come to life”, “a threat to peace and societal cohesion”. Trump has said Saudi Arabia should pay the United States for “protection.” “In response to Trump’s hallucinations: God and Saudi Arabia’s army will protect it,” per an editorial retort in a news site authorized by a Saudi Ministry.
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