Terrorism: The ugliest election X-factor

More detailed information will come in over the coming hours and days. But there’s reason to fear this pattern could continue between now and November. Whether it is the work of lone wolves or something more coordinated, it doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that terrorists view President Trump as an asset in their efforts to portray America as discredited and in decline. His divisive instincts play perfectly into ISIS’ attempts to recast what used to be called The War on Terror as a war between America and Islam everywhere, rather than a rag-tag band of extremists, many radicalized remotely, parading under the broad banner of an apocalyptic death cult.

If this pattern continuing sounds unlikely, consider the fact that America’s two biggest geo-political competitors, Russia and China, have been cheering the prospect of a Trump presidency, presumably because they see it as a harbinger or American decline and retreat from the world, despite all the tough guy rhetoric. It’s a helpful bit of historical symmetry that “America First” has consistently symbolized a flag-waving acquiescence to overseas dictators with bloody expansionist ambitions.

The fact that so many of the Republican Party’s national security mandarins have declared Donald Trump unfit for office, should offer a reality check for reflexive Republicans and open-minded independents alike. The latest respected figure to join this chorus was former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform…He is unqualified and unfit to be commander in chief.”