Donald Trump began the week Monday showcasing what The Gazette’s editorial board saw last month in a private meeting. He appeared presidential, adequately informed and passionately devoted to improving the country’s trajectory.

Trump laid out his plan to counter radical Islamic terrorism. Without name calling or whimsical antics, he excoriated President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling of rogue foreign aggression against our way of life.

He enumerated the problem of radical Islamic terrorism: 13 murdered and 38 wounded at Fort Hood; 264 wounded and five killed in Boston Marathon bombing; five unarmed marines killed in Tennessee; 14 killed, 22 inured in San Bernardino, Calif; 49 executed, 53 injured, at Orlando LGBTQ nightclub; IS has attacked outside the Middle East every 84 hours this summer; and more.

“Overseas, IS has carried out one unthinkable atrocity after another,” Trump said. “Children slaughtered, girls sold into slavery, men and women burned alive. Crucifixions, beheadings and drownings. Ethnic minorities targeted for mass execution. Holy sites desecrated . We cannot let this evil continue.”

Trump explained how the Middle East was considerably more stable before Obama began his foreign “Apology Tour” of 2009, describing our country as an “arrogant,” “dismissive” “derisive” colonial power. By conveying apologetic weakness, Obama emboldened enemies of gender equality, religious freedom and tolerance of diverse sexual orientation, ethnicity, race and religion.

Before the foreign policy statements and actions of Obama and Clinton, Trump said, Libya was stable and Syria was under control. Egypt was ruled by an American ally. Iraq was moving away from violence. Economic sanctions were choking Iran.

Today, Libya lies in ruin; IS has a new base of operations and large new territories; Syria is embroiled in civil war; terrorists have gained footholds in the Sinai desert, near the Suez Canal; and more.

Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, has “$150 billion in cash released by the United States — plus another $400 million in ransom. Worst of all, the nuclear deal puts Iran, the number one state sponsor of Radical Islamic Terrorism, on a path to nuclear weapons.

“In short, the Obama-Clinton foreign policy has unleashed IS, destabilized the Middle East, and put the nation of Iran — which chants ‘Death to America’ — in a dominant position of regional power and, in fact, aspiring to be a dominant world power.”

Trump reiterated his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, which Clinton voted for, quoting media interviews published before and after the invasion.

Trump had warned the invasion would accomplish nothing other than placing Iraq into hands of “the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy” who will take over the moment American troops withdraw.

“Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed,” Trump said of the war Clinton supported. “And what about the people coming back with no arms and legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who’ve been blown to piece s. All this for nothing.”

Though he opposed the invasion, Trump advised keeping Iraq’s oil if we prevailed in overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime.

“IS made as much $500 million in oil sales in 2014 alone, fueling and funding its reign of terror.” Trump said. “In the old days, when we won a war, to the victor belonged the spoils.”

Trump spelled out the enormous distinction between his policy toward radical Islam and what Obama and Clinton have offered.

“While my opponent accepted millions of dollars in Foundation donations from countries where being gay is an offense punishable by prison or death, my administration will speak out against the oppression of women, gays and people of different faith,” Trump said.

His plan includes:

– “The era of nation-building” will end.

– Convening an international conference focused on the goal of halting the spread of radical Islam.

– Partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, President Sisi of Egypt, “and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished.”

– Work with NATO, which “has a new division focused on terror threats.”

– Find common ground with Russia in the fight against IS.

– Cut off IS funding.

– Enhance intelligence sharing and cyber warfare to counter radical Islamic propaganda and recruiting.

– Decimate al-Qaida.

– Choke off Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah with UN Security Council resolutions to apply new sanctions.

– Military, cyber and financial warfare as needed.

– Ideological warfare, “just as we won the Cold War, in part, by exposing the evils of communism and the virtues of free markets.”

Don’t expect to hear much about this speech or the plan it conveyed. Trump gets press for careless, non-substantive soundbites the media can isolate, amplify and belabor for maximum outrage.

On display Monday was the leadership side of Trump, which frightens Clinton and the overtly biased mainstream national press. They don’t want the Trump who looks presidential in dismantling Clinton’s record, or the Trump with bold, practical and popular ideas. They prefer the playful class clown, who’s never away for long.

the gazette editorial board


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