Donald Trump’s “America First” policy has been described as a “neocon idea” that will leave the United States less free, and less secure, than it was in the 1990s.
But the Republican presidential nominee’s policy has not translated into any significant changes in policy on the ground, and in fact has actually created more enemies and antagonisms than it has added, according to a new National Review article.
Trump’s “Trump First” approach to foreign policy has resulted in the creation of new enemies, including “radical Islamic terrorism” and “radical Islam” abroad, as well as “the radical Islamic State,” and a “radical, militaristic, undemocratic, corrupt and despotic regime.”
“The most important thing you can do, President Trump, is to remember who the enemies are,” former President Barack Obama said at the White House Correspondents Dinner in February.
“And remember who are the terrorists who are killing Americans overseas.”
Trump’s campaign website offers a number of examples of new threats to the United State, including a threat to attack the “Muslim world” and an ongoing effort to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But even more importantly, Trump’s foreign policy approach is a direct response to the global and national security threat posed by the Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Trump has described the Islamic state as the “most evil” group in the world, and has repeatedly advocated for the U.S. to be involved in a ground war to overthrow the group’s capital of Raqqa, which has been controlled by the group for more than a year.
But Trump’s strategy for fighting the Islamic group is a complete reversal of the policies of the Obama administration, who in 2015 led a coalition of countries in a military intervention in Syria to defeat ISIS, only to see the group consolidate its hold on territory across Syria, Iraq and the broader region.
The Trump administration’s strategy has also emboldened radical Islamic militants, including al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and the Islamic Front, a group that Trump has praised.
While Trump’s approach has not produced any tangible gains against the Islamic states, it has created new enemies for the United Kingdom, France and the United Nations.
In addition to creating new enemies and undermining U.K. efforts to tackle the threat posed to British and French interests, Trump has also helped to undermine the international community’s efforts to combat radical Islam, including by supporting the group known as the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is also known as ISIL.
In fact, Trump himself has said that his approach to defeating ISIS is more of a “war on terror” than a “defeat” of ISIS.
“I would say the best way to defeat this terrorist organization is to kill them,” Trump said during a March 2015 interview with Fox News.
“I mean, you know, if you look at the people who were in Raqqa when we went in, you had people, and they were beautiful people, they were very, very strong, and very smart, and you could see them out there, and it was a very tough fight.”
Trump has also praised the Islamic extremists and their ideology, and said in January that the United states must “destroy ISIS.”
“I think it’s a great thing to have ISIS in our country,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“We can’t have ISIS, we can’t do anything about ISIS.”
The fact that Trump’s rhetoric is at odds with the policies he campaigned on, and which were championed by Obama, has been an ongoing challenge for Trump.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Trump and his campaign released a statement that suggested he was not referring to the Islamic extremist group when he referred to the attackers as “people who love us,” but rather, “the people who hate us.”
But this strategy has been counterproductive.
It has emboldened the Islamic militants and their allies in Syria and elsewhere, and helped to increase the number of foreign fighters who are willing to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS.
It also has not provided any meaningful support to the local communities in Syria who are struggling to survive.