4/22/16 – James Fahey
Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump both claimed important wins in the New York primary this week highlighting the likelihood of the two being opposing candidates come to election time. While Bernie Sanders has had quite an astonishing campaign continually pushing Hilary, John Kasich and Ted Cruz seem to be left in the shadows of Donald Trump (New York Times).
Although there is still plenty of time until both party candidates are confirmed I feel the Democrat and Republican candidates are the two pictured below.
But what will it mean for the United States if either of these potential candidates get the role? Key issues are currently facing the United States including ISIS, cyber security and the B.R.I.C nations; Brazil, Russia, India and China, who have been challenging the United States position as the global hegemon which has been in somewhat decline in recent years. This article will focus predominantly on the issue of ISIS.
There is no doubt ISIS is a monster and Donald Trump has been very precise on his policy for dealing with ISIS – “I would bomb the s— out of ’em. I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. And you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there and in two months, you ever see these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? They’ll rebuild that sucker, brand new — it’ll be beautiful.”
This, however, is eerily similar to the Bush and his administration’s policy of dealing with Iraq from 2003 onwards which resulted in one of the biggest disasters in recent history (although not as publically honest on the idea of getting oil companies in to the country). Needless to say, there are some negatives to this. More bombing by NATO in Iraq and Syria will not only cause more destruction to these already broken society’s, it will furthermore enrage the hatred that many young Muslims already feel for the US and its NATO allies from the conflict they have brought to Iraq and Afghanistan in the last fifteen years.
Hilary on the other hand has a somehwat different opinion on the US. She feels the country needs to “intensify” the fight against ISIS. “That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign, with more allied planes, more strikes and a broader target set.” I would ask the question, is it possible to terminate a religious and political ideology by bombing and conflict which has been created as a result of bombing and conflict? I argue not. According to Juan Cole who is a leading Professor at the University of Michigan and world-renowned scholar on Middle Eastern studies supports this view. Professor Cole highlights this by referring to Graham Fuller,publication – “Avenging James Foley”;
“foreign boots on the ground, dictators supported by the US out of convenience, a failure to end a half century of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, the treatment of Palestinians as a paradigm for treatment of other Muslims, the US employment of the region as an eternal cockpit for proxy wars — all of this is still ongoing.”
This has been known by the US government before the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington. Long term target of the US, Osama Bin Laden has made this very clear in the past but is not on the table for discussion in Washington.
Cole also argues that the West should make an effort to improve the relations with the Muslim world by not suggesting that there is something wrong with Muslims, that they keep producing terrorists. Not to tag all of them with the actions of some violent Muslims as that of all Muslims.Finally, to show your Muslim neighbour some love. When these points are put on paper they all seem pretty reasonable and practical ideas. Yet, it is not been practised nor are these ideals discussed in the corporate media in the US as much as they should be.
The question is, will Hilary and Trump follow through on their stated policies toward ISIS or will they choose a different policy when it comes to the crunch. Will Hilary be allowed if congress is controlled by the Republicans. President Obama found this to be a very difficult issue. Or will there be a democratic congress calling this shots for the next President.
Trump has on many occasions radically changed his opinion on a number of subjects including abortion, ground troops in Syria and Iraq and tax reform. According to The Washington Post, Trump has changed his mind on policies twenty times between June 2015 and August 2015. Where will his views stand come the election and how will the public know what they are voting for.
While there are many issues waiting for the next President of the United States to be tackled I imagine ISIS will be in the news headlines for a long time to come. Hopefully a lesson will be learned on how not to deal with the Middle East and terrorism. A strong, young, militarily equipped group which happens to have part a religious element driving these people can be largely blamed of the failure of the Iraq war in 2003. But this is not something unkown in the United States.