Donald Trump may be okay with using nukes to destroy ISIS. Here’s his comments to the TODAY show on NBC:
It’s true he says he would be “the last to use” nukes, which could be taken as two different ways. On the one hand, Trump could be saying he doesn’t want to use nukes at all, and would wait until no other option existed (kinda like George W. Bush saying war is the last option, and we all know how that turned out). It could also mean Trump is saying he would be the last person to use nukes, because no one would think to use them after that (or we’d all be dead because The Apocalypse War would actually happen). I tend to think his comments are more of the former, than the latter.
Trump is going for this entire, “Don’t tell anyone my strategy,” but making this comment seems ludicrous. Why even bother with answering Savannah Guthrie’s question at all? It would have probably been smarter for Trump to go, “That’s a ridiculous question” or “That’s an interesting question, next one.” I can’t think of another presidential candidate actually being asked this sort of question, but maybe that’s the point. We’re in a really interesting time and presidential election, so all questions are on the table. What’s next, “Mr. Trump would you be willing to claim Antarctica or the Moon for America to get the land?”
There are obviously going to be people who support Trump’s strategy of putting the nuke option on the table because there’s this notion it could solve a lot of problems. But nuking ISIS would require hitting not just Iraq and Syria, but also nailing Libya where ISIS is starting to rise. It might even involve nailing Europe to take out all those refugees because, oh my Odin, all refugees are Muslims looking to establish a caliphate (except when they’re Christians trying to escape ISIS). I’m just not sure it’s a wise thing to come out and say it because it could foment more jihadis, not less.
The better option would be taking a hard look at the U.S.’s role in the world and whether it needs to be the “world police.” Trump has occasionally articulated this stance, which is a good thing. But Trump also wants to rid the world of ISIS with the military. From his speech yesterday (via Trump’s own transcript):
Events may require the use of military force. But it’s also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War.
In this we’re going to be working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world, all of which are at risk from radical Islamic violence…
And then there’s ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as, a nation, be more unpredictable. But they’re going to be gone. And soon…
In the Middle East, our goals must be to defeat terrorists and promote regional stability, not radical change. We need to be clear-sighted about the groups that will never be anything other than enemies.
This is probably why the nuke question came up during the TODAY show interview. In certain aspects Trump is right about wanting to renegotiate deals and lessen the financial burden on America because of our debt. I can get behind that and him saying if we go to war, we have to want to win it (this detante strategy hasn’t worked at all). But his propensity to sit there and say, “We must do this!” or “I don’t want to do this, but I will if I have to,” shows his foreign policy may not be that much different from the other candidates he’s facing (except the Libertarian Party ones). Trump saying he won’t take nukes off the table also gets him more press, and gets his supporters even more rabid than they already were. Which is probably what he wanted all along.