Policy Prescriptions: Clinton and Trump on the Islamic State

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2016 3:43 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — If there's one thing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump can agree on, it's that the Islamic State group is a global threat that needs to be eradicated.

However, the two presidential nominees seem to disagree on just about everything else about it, from how to defeat the militant group, to which of them the militants prefer for America's next commander-in-chief.

Here is a summary of their proposals:

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HOW TO DEFEAT THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP?

TRUMP: In his much-anticipated foreign policy speech in August, Trump said he would "aggressively pursue" joint or coalition military operations to "crush and destroy ISIS," using an acronym for the militant group. On his campaign website, he also highlights the need for expanded intelligence sharing and "cyberwarfare" to tackle the militants' efforts to recruit and spread their propaganda online. He also said the U.S. must prevent the group from generating income, particularly through oil sales, with Trump noting on several occasions that he plans to "take back the oil."

CLINTON: The former secretary of state has said she plans on targeting the Islamic State group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying that when the U.S. assassinated al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, it "made a difference."

On her campaign website, Clinton also details her plan for tackling the Islamic State group: First, she would continue the airstrike campaign in Iraq and Syria to deny it territory. Second, she would work with European intelligence agencies and tech companies to stifle its global network of money, weapons and fighters, and to stop it from recruiting and inspiring people around the world. Third, she would boost America's defenses to prevent homegrown threats by "breaking down bureaucratic barriers" to ease information-sharing among various agencies.

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SHOULD THE U.S. SEND MORE TROOPS TO FIGHT THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP?

TRUMP: The celebrity businessman said in July that he would have "very few troops on the ground" and use "unbelievable intelligence" to defeat the Islamic State group. During a primary debate in March, Trump said he would listen to senior military officials to determine how many troops were needed, adding, "I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000." He has since backed off that figure, reiterating at the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 that he plans to "knock the hell out of ISIS," without detailing his plans regarding U.S. involvement.

CLINTON: At an NBC News town hall in September, Clinton said, "we are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again. And we're not putting ground troops into Syria. We're going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops."

At the Oct. 9 debate, she said it would be a "very serious mistake" to send troops to Syria to help in the fight against the Islamic State group, noting that they would be viewed as an "occupying force."

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WHAT SHOULD RUSSIA'S ROLE BE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP?

TRUMP: The Republican nominee has made no secret of his willingness to work with the Russians in the fight against the Islamic State group. During his foreign policy speech in August, Trump noted that the U.S. can "find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS," adding that we have shared interests in the outcome in Syria and the battle against Islamic extremism.

At the Oct. 9 debate, Trump said he disagreed with his running mate, Mike Pence, when he said the U.S. should be prepared to take military action in Syria if Russia continues to be involved in airstrikes along with the Syrian government. Trump told the town hall, "Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up together because of our weak policy."

He later said he thinks "it would be great if we got along with Russia. We could fight ISIS together."

CLINTON: The Democratic nominee countered that Russia "hasn't paid any attention to ISIS."

Clinton said Russia's sole interest in Syria is to keep President Bashar Assad in power and the U.S. needs leverage with the Russians, because "they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution unless there is some leverage over them," pointing to her proposal for a no-fly zone and safe zone in Syria.

Clinton added that she supported calls by Secretary of State John Kerry for an investigation into "war crimes" committed by the Syrians and the Russians in an effort to "hold them accountable."

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WHO DOES THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP WANT TO BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT?

TRUMP: Clinton. Over the summer, Trump suggested the militant group is on the edge of its seat hoping his Democratic rival wins in November.

"Oh, boy, is ISIS hoping for her," Trump said during an appearance in Miami, referring to Clinton.

"ISIS will hand her the most-valuable-player award. Her only competition is Barack Obama," Trump said, accusing the president of being the "founder of ISIS" and Clinton its "co-founder."

CLINTON: Trump. In an interview with Israel's Channel 2 News in September, the Democratic nominee noted that the militant group is praying, "Oh please, Allah, make Trump president of America."

She noted that Trump's rhetoric "is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries," pointing to an article by Mike Olsen, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, citing Trump's tough rhetoric as fueling Islamic state recruitment.

She described Trump as a "recruiting sergeant" for the Islamic State group.

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