Recap of Sunday Talks Shows on War on Terror

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2016 presidential candidates, appearing on Sunday morning talk shows, touted their foreign policy credentials, experience, and plans going forward with the U.S. leading the war on global terror.

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump doubled down on his plan to create a database to monitor all Muslims entering the country in a phone interview to ABC’s This Week: “I want a database for the refugees if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they’re ISIS, we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse. I definitely want a database and other checks and balances. We want to go with watchlists. We want to go with databases. And we have no choice. We have no idea who’s being sent in here.”

Also on This week, Ben Carson defended his foreign policy credentials: “I hope everybody is on a learning curve. You know in medicine we have something called CME, continuing medical education. It recognizes the fact that things are always in the process of changing. And if you stay stagnant and you say, well, I’m up on it and now I’ll go relax, you’re not going to be very competent. And the same thing applies with being commander-in-chief. The world is a rapidly changing place. All kinds of dynamics going on. Yes, we should have in place protocols to deal with that 2:00 a.m. call in the morning, but we also need to have the ability to think quickly and to be flexible. I would be willing to say that I probably have more 2:00 a.m. in the morning experience than everybody else running combined, making life and death decisions. You have to be able to do that. And you know, so who has got the most experience? I don’t know that it necessarily comes down to politics, it comes down to practical experience solving difficult problems doing things quickly and efficiently and using the resources available to you to get that done.”

NJ Governor Chris Christie previewed his Tuesday address to the Council on Foreign Relations during an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union: “I’m the only person in this race who has actually done this before. I was United States Attorney for seven years in New Jersey in the immediate aftermath of September 11th brought two of the most major terrorism cases this country has brought in the aftermath of September 11th… The number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. National security is not an option. It’s a fundamental right and that’s what we’ll be focused on.”

Christie also defended his controversial remarks about stopping the entry of Syrian refugees even an orphaned toddler: “The fact is that we should have these folks vetted and vetted well. The FBI director said they cannot be vetted, Jake. This is not me saying it. This is the President’s own FBI director saying it. The President needs to get his own story straight in Washington, D.C., then he can get folks, political appointees, like John Kerry and Jeh Johnson to write whatever letters they want to the governors…. What we’re going to do and what we should be doing as a country is to set up a no-fly zone in Syria and we should set up a safe haven in Syria so these folks don’t have to leave their country in the first place .. This is not an issue we should even have to be addressing inside the United States.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich addressed the debate over allowing entry for Syrian refugees during an interview on The Cats Roundtable – AM 970 in New York: “I, as the governor of Ohio, have written to the president and to the congress saying ‘No, this is time to take the pause.’ We don’t know who these people are, and we know that many of them in Syria, who represent these radicals, are intent on infiltrating us. And until we can have an effective way to determine who they are, then we ought to take a pause … It would be a big mistake for the president to move forward on this.”

In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kasich defended his proposal to promote Judeo-Christian values in the Middle East as part of the campaign against ISIS: “I’ve said we could win the battle of bullets, I have no doubt about that. But we have to also engage in the battle of ideas when we have many people, including many young people looking for meaning in life somewhere other than in Western civilization… This is almost a metaphysical battle where they are saying they want to destroy our very way of life. And I think it’s important we communicate these ideas of the importance of an individual and equality of women and a respect for education and a respect for science. And we’ll invite anybody in that wants to be part of that communication… So not any new agency and not anything about going to church, about who we are as the West that represents freedom and life and progress, that’s what we need to communicate to the world.”

Senator Rand Paul addressed his foreign policy approach and plan to defeat ISIS in the wake of the recent terror attacks during an interview on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I think the first thing we have to do is learn from our history. In the past several decades, if there’s one true thing in the Middle East, it’s that when we’ve toppled secular dictators, we’ve gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam. So by toppling Saddam Hussein, we’re still suffering that chaos, by toppling Qadaffi in Libya, we got chaos, a failed state, and a third of Libya now pledges allegiance to ISIS. By pouring weapons into the Syrian civil war on the side of Islamic rebels who are actually allied with Al Qaeda, and some of whom became ISIS, that was a mistake. So the ultimate solution if we want a long lasting victory and a long lasting peace, what we’re going to have to do is the boots on the ground are going to have to be Arab and you’re going to have to have Sunni Muslims defeating Sunni Muslims.”

Paul said he’s worried that in order to protect homeland security there will be an overreach in terms of additional surveillance operations: “I think when you have a fearful time or an angry time that people are coaxed into giving up their liberty. Already, many in the intelligence community are saying, ‘Oh if we only had the bulk phone collection program back.’ Well, what they’re not telling you and what they’re being dishonest about is we still have the phone collection program. In the United States, all phone records are still being collected all the time and we still had the attack. And realize that in France they have bulk collection or surveillance of their citizens a thousand fold greater than what we have, with very little privacy protections. They still didn’t know anything about this. So what I would argue is that you keep giving up liberty, can keep giving up liberty, but in the end I don’t think we’ll be safer, but we may have lost who we are as a people in the process. And I’m going to fight to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley criticized his rival Hillary Clinton following her foreign policy/national security speech at the Center for Foreign Policy on Thursday: “In the speech that she just gave, it was an everything but the kitchen sink and it was also peppered with all of the same old thinking, old State Department thinking when it comes to this. We need a foreign policy that not only talks about a greater human intelligence but actually delivers it… She is stuck in the old Cold War thinking. And this new era requires new thinking. It requires fresh approaches. This is very different than the conflict of the 1990s.”


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