Neither VP Candidate has an Answer to Defeat ISIS

During Tuesday night’s soundbite contest, both running mates were posed with this question about terrorism and national security:

“Do you think the world today is a safer or more dangerous place than it was eight years ago? Has the terrorist threat increased or decreased?”

Senator Kaine, of course – being the team player that he is – tried to defend the last eight years under Obama’s presidency as resulting in a safer world now compared to when he first took office in 2009:

“The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways, because bin Laden is dead,” Kaine answered. “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because an Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped. The terrorist threat to United States troops has been decreased in some ways, because there’s not 175,000 in a dangerous part of the world. There’s only 15,000.”

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Kaine went on to explain that the way Hillary is going to beat ISIS – or ISIL – is to kill their leaders on the battlefield. Since she was on the team that killed bin Laden, she’ll do the same with ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In addition, Kaine said that a President Hillary Clinton would “disrupt financing networks…disrupt their ability to recruit on the Internet, in their safe havens,” and “also work with allies to share and surge intelligence.”

In response, Governor Pence reminded Kaine that bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, not ISIS, which is now the growing threat. Further, Pence noted:

“And because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed some American combat troops to remain in Iraq and secure the hard fought gains the American soldier had won by 2009, ISIS was able to be literally conjured up out of the desert, and it’s overrun vast areas that the American soldier had won in Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Foreign policy is touchy subject among supporters of both major parties. The thing is, both major parties agree on the principle of intervention. They might disagree on the minutiae – at least in their speeches – but the one thing that they never consider changing is our foreign policy altogether.

The question should not be whether we should arm this group of “rebels” or that other group. The question should be whether we should be arming, financing, training, any foreign military groups whatsoever. They always act surprised when they find out that terrorists somehow got a hold of all the heavy weaponry that was intended for the “rebel freedom fighters.” And then, come to find out, those “rebel freedom fighters” decided to join ISIS.

Or, ISIS stole the heavy weaponry from rebel forces. Or, a high-ranking political figure like a diplomat brokered an arms deal with ISIS. Or, all of the above.

Those are natural consequences of an interventionist foreign policy. A policy which doesn’t have America’s national security at heart, but which has certain geopolitical goals in mind that involve oil and heroin, but mostly money, power and control.

Bin Laden was a CIA asset whom our government needed in order to have an excuse to maintain our heavy military presence in the Middle East. If the U.S. actually viewed him as the threat that they claimed he was, they would have killed him ages ago. Now that he’s out of the picture – even though no one ever got any real verification that he was killed…but I guess we can take the White House’s word on that – we’ve got a new bogeyman:  ISIS. They’re fulfilling the same function as bin Laden did, except on a much larger scale.

The last thing the powers at the top want is to “defeat ISIS.” Then what excuse would there be for us to remain in the Middle East indefinitely? I suppose they could always just come up with another group.

If the U.S. truly had America’s best interests at heart, we wouldn’t be spread out all over the world and particularly in the Middle East. We’d be mostly concerned with defending our own country and leaving foreign countries alone.

Removing our presence in the Middle East would go a long way in removing the number one motive behind terrorism. It would be way more difficult for ISIS to recruit new members if the U.S. – and any other U.S. ally – would altogether leave the Middle East to itself.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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