Dr. Walid Phares is among the pre-eminent anti-jihadists around. Dr. Phares is the author of Future Jihad and The War of Ideas, and appeared on two episodes of Hot Air’s Stak Attack last year. Among voters who rank the threat of international terrorism as a high priority, a Phares endorsement carries some weight. Today in an email, Dr. Phares issued his opinion on the presidential candidates in both parties.
My recommendations for the US Primaries:
Republican Primaries: Gov. Mitt Romney
Democratic Primaries: No preference between Sen(s) Clinton and Obama
I have seldom issued analysis and recommendations on Presidential candidates in national elections and never done so in primaries. But as a researcher on the conflict with Jihadism, I project that the next US President will have to be fully informed on the nature of the conflict and a determined leader with a focus to win the war on Terror, to educate Americans about the threat and also spread freedoms to the oppressed and persecuted in the Greater Middle East. This note is not part of a formal activity nor any campaign. It is an opinion I am expressing as the nation has engaged in the process leading to the selection of the next President. My opinion is based on my knowledge of the agendas and of the information available to the public. It will be affected if and when these agendas would change.
The next President must be fully educated on the threat of Jihadism and on the necessity of defending democracy, promoting human rights and granting minorities in the region all their rights, including self determination. He or she should be able to possess the knowledge, the intellectual capacity and the strategic vision to confront the Salafist Jihadism of al Qaeda and of Wahabi ideologies, and to confront the threat of Khomeinism embodied by the Iranian regime and Hezbollah.
The next President must be fully aware of the penetration by the Jihadists of the United States at all levels of decision making and educational structure. He or she should engage in a national campaign to awaken and mobilize the US public in general and the American youth in particular to win the War on Terror.
The President who will occupy the White House as of January 2009 will either lead the nation and the free world to a series of victories in the global conflict with Jihadism or will oversee the greater debacle in the modern history of the United States and the international community. The stakes are the highest since the end of the Cold War and so should be the choice of the next leader.
It is true that Presidential candidates are also selected based on their views and skills in the fields of economy, immigration, social and religious issues, as well as a vast array of important subjects. I will leave these grounds to their experts and limit my analysis and recommendations to the fields of national security and war on terror. For if America loses the War or if its national security crumbles, all other areas will be less relevant. But I do understand that voters can and will make their decisions on all these grounds combined with a focus on one or more areas. This is the voter’s sacred domain.
I have sent my books to most candidates and I have had the opportunity to discuss these crucial matters with some candidates and campaigns. From my findings, and based solely on the grounds of national security, the war on terror and the war of ideas here are my recommendations for the primaries:
1) Democrats: Until this moment I don’t have a specific striking preference -in terms of national security and the War on Terror- for one of the two leading candidates, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, over the other. They both espouse an agenda which firmly commit to pursuing the war on al Qaeda but which doesn’t define yet the global foe as Jihadism. Senator Edwards’ agenda calls for the unconditional withdrawal from Iraq and a cessation of the War on Terror. Hence I wouldn’t recommend him over the senior candidates Clinton and Obama. However as I reviewed the agenda of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (before he withdrew) I found that it is fully aligned with the international agendas of the Jihadists and the Iranian and Syrian regimes and their allies; hence I strongly recommended not to vote for him so that a message is sent by the Democratic Voters against this agenda. I recommend Democrats voters to analyze the national security components of the candidates’ agendas and vote accordingly. I recommend Democrats voters to look for the following policy guidelines in their candidates platforms:
a. Support the campaign in Iraq against the Iranian-Syrian “axis” forces and al Qaeda
b. Commit to support democracy and minorities in the Greater Middle East
c. Confront the threat of Jihadism in the US.
If the candidate support these principles, he or she would have fulfilled the minimal requirements in national security to be selected by the Democrats voters at this stage.
2) Republicans: In the Republican primaries here are the following findings
a. The most visible problem is the full alignment of Congressman Ron Paul’s agenda against the War on Terror and against supporting democracy and human rights in the region. It is important that Republican voters send a message to the other candidates and to the nation by rejecting the isolationist and defeatist policy adopted by Congressman Paul. On these grounds, I recommend not to vote for him.
b. All other candidates have received my books and address the War on Terror with an understanding of the threat. They are equal in being capable of leading the US in the direction needed to confront the threat on national security grounds. Senator McCain, Governor Huckabee, Mayor Giuliani and Governor Romney are all very sensitive to the rising threat of Jihadism and they often express their concerns about its current and future menace. Republican voters who have decided to select one of them are in line with the national security agenda.
c. However I have studied in particular the agenda and national security language of Governor Mitt Romney and I do personally believe that at this stage he has best understood the parameters I am concerned about: that is the threat of Jihadism, the human rights crisis in the Greater Middle East and the need for a confrontation of Jihadism within the US Homeland. Governor Romney, by my academic and analytical parameters has been able to draw a counter-Jihadism doctrine which can best determine the danger, identify the threat and direct national resources into the confrontation.
In addition I have had the chance to learn that the Mitt Romney policy on the Middle East will particularly focus on containing the Iranian and Syrian regimes, standing by and defending democracies in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq and promoting human rights in the region.
This is why at this stage I would recommend to the Republicans to vote for Mitt Romney in the primaries as first among equal colleagues.
This analysis and recommendation represent my personal views and do not represent the views and opinions of the NGOs and institutions I belong to.
At this stage may aim is not to engage in a debate about primaries but only to inform all those on my lists of my views regarding the national security and war on terror agendas of the candidates from both parties.
Dr Walid Phares