The Potential Success of Trump’s Counterterrorism Strategy

President-elect Donald Trump has been criticized during the election process for maintaining the element of surprise in his strategy to defeat ISIS. He indicated that detailing his plan during the debate would allow the enemy to prepare accordingly. This discipline mirrors the teaching of military strategist Sun Tzu, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

Hillary Clinton detailed her plan, and continued to propose no-fly zones in Syria; but there are many other tactics that can be used in war to defeat the opponent. The Syrian military would simply alter their maneuvers to those that do not involve air strikes.

President-elect Trump has since proposed a combination of strategies to defeat ISIS, and when deployed simultaneously, create a solid counterterrorism policy. Sun Tzu also taught “There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.” President-elect Donald Trump seems to understand the complexity of public policy and the ambiguity of terrorism; and this combination approach will win the war, rather than Hillary’s approach to win a battle.

The leadership of President-elect Trump combines tactical and strategic thinking through his plan to defeat terrorism.

  1. An organization cannot operate without financial assets; and ISIS is no different. President-elect Trump plans to destroy ISIS’ financial stability by eliminating their oil camps. While crippling their resources, the United States can also collect valuable intelligence through improve human source operations, which have proven successful at gathering critical information on our enemy.
  2. President-elect Trump is against nation-building. It does not help defeat ISIS to set up a democratic government in a country unable to sustain the efforts. But setting up safe zones for Syrian refugees will keep the Syrian population near their home state and prevent the tsunami of refugees flooding into Europe. Keeping the refugee population at their home is a strategic method to prevent displacement into a democracy that would eventually be exploited.
  3. International collaboration is a strategic plan to increase global resistance to terrorism. President-elect Trump values the U.S. partnership with British forces; and seeks to create partnerships with Russia, Syria, and Iran. By aligning anti-ISIS plans, this effective partnership is key to denying ISIS a geographic footprint and deters their ability to plan and organization operations. The partnership with Syria will support the Syrian government and defeat ISIS internally rather than arming the Syrian rebels. This long-term strategy will also prevent ISIS from obtaining more weapons, paid for by the U.S., since those supplies will by acquired from the Syrian forces we currently arm.

Identifying our enemy and creating a global leadership vision will defeat ISIS. President-elect Trump will wage an ideological war by achieving balance between direct and indirect action. Through collaboration, strategic and tactical visions and military strength, ISIS can be defeated!

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