Any time Republican nominee Donald Trump speaks, you can bet it’ll be about how great he is at something, even if he really isn’t. And sure enough, Trump talks like this in regards to foreign policy. This type of talk, though, is potentially deadly if he gets elected to the presidency.
Trump has claimed superior knowledge of foreign affairs, disregarding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s four year stint as Secretary of State. He claimed, in the second presidential debate, Aleppo had “fallen” without really providing any evidence to back up these claims.
It’s not unreasonable to think that Trump should know a thing or two about international politics. Prior to running for president, Trump was a businessman who, while having negotiations or contracts abroad, spent the majority of his time focusing on American markets.
Now that he is running for the highest office in the United States, it is more than reasonable to expect Trump to educate himself on foreign affairs. But he has failed to educate himself, instead remaining willfully ignorant to some of the most pressing international matters, including the current situation in Syria.
Contrary to Trump’s claims, here is the truth surrounding the crisis in Syria: the city of Aleppo, ground zero for much of the violence occurring in Syria, has not fallen. Following the crumbling of a ceasefire between Russia and the United States, Aleppo has been witness to Russian and Syrian airstrikes.
When he said, “Assad [President of Syria] is killing ISIS, Russia is killing ISIS, Iran is killing ISIS,” that was largely fabricated. While all are involved in the Syrian crisis, none claim to be fighting ISIS, but rather “terror” in general, which translates to the Syrian freedom fighters.
Trump is running his mouth and, per usual, all that is coming out are opinions not based in fact. Trump’s regard for humanitarian efforts can be garnered from the statement, “We have to knock out ISIS.”
While war is not easy to balance with humanitarian efforts, it is frightening to see a presidential candidate with so little regard for the hundreds of thousands people that would be negatively affected by his full out assault on ISIS.
Trump’s comments regarding the situation have not gone unnoticed by the very group he maintains he will destroy if elected. ISIS has taken to using clips of Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric in their recruitment videos. Instead of fighting the terrorists, Trump’s rhetoric fuels their fire, and ultimately paints a picture of a United States as aggressively anti-Muslim as he is himself.
Compounding his anti-Islamic rhetoric is his blatant disregard for the victims of the Syrian conflict. In response to the question of whether he would accept more refugees into this country, he said, “We have enough problems in this country [already].”
This kind of rhetoric fuels the fire, granting ISIS further proof that Westerners are uncaring toward the needs of people living in the Middle East. This sentiment is what causes groups like ISIS to form in the first place.
Trump’s comments are so egregious that his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence disagrees with them. In the vice presidential debate, Pence said the U.S. should “use military force” in Syria. In response, Trump said, “He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.”
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It is more than a little troubling that Pence and Trump have failed to discuss something as central as foreign policy this late in the election season. It makes sense that within the Republican party there could be some discrepancies as to the best foreign policy towards Syria. But Trump and Pence should have their stances cemented by now.
Trump’s loose cannon demeanor fuels the notion that he is unfit to serve as president. The second presidential debate unveiled his lack of knowledge regarding international affairs, shed light once more on his racist nature, and ultimately proved him to be an unworthy and unfit candidate.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in political science and international studies.