IN THE JOURNAL | COVER STORY
Trump: The perfect enemy
January-March 2017
By: Rohan Gunaratna

 Donald J Trump, whom the Islamic State has identified as the “perfect enemy,” will be sworn in as president of the United States on Jan. 20. He will develop an unconventional strategy to fight insurgency, terrorism and extremism. To defeat a common enemy, Trump will think beyond the existing paradigm; he will reach out to America’s Cold War and post-Cold War adversaries.

IS and Al Qaeda have underestimated Trump. The new president has the political will and out-of-the-box thinking to work with Russia, China, Iran, Syria and other actors to manage the global insurgency and terrorist threat. Clouded by his highly controversial election rhetoric, many have failed to understand Trump’s radical vision to even work with America’s adversaries, notably Russia. President Barack Obama in 2014 declared that he wanted to “degrade and ultimately destroy” IS and eliminate Al Qaeda’s and the Islamic State’s leadership. However, Obama focused primarily on a population-centric strategy. Trump’s doctrine will be enemy-centric, with his central mission expected to relentlessly target and destroy the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and their associates.

Cheering enemies

Donald Trump’s opponents projected him as the presidential contender of anti-Muslim rhetoric. “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations,” Trump claimed to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in November 2015. “They were cheering as the World Trade Centre came down.”

In reality, most Muslims including Muslim-Americans did not support the 9/11 attacks. Only a tiny segment of Muslims celebrated the attacks; like the rest of the population, most were horrified. After having called for the banning of all Muslim immigration to the United States in December 2015, Trump clarified last June that as president he would “suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies.”

COMMENTS
Please login to leave a comment