Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton devoted just three sentences to her ISIS strategy in her nearly hour-long acceptance speech at Thursday night’s Democratic National Convention.
“We will strike their sanctuaries from the air and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country,” adding “It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake, we will prevail.”
One of the major themes of the last night at the Democratic National Convention was Clinton’s experience in national security affairs, highlighted with a myriad of former government officials testifying to her fitness to be commander in chief. Retired Marine Gen. John Allen, with military veterans standing behind him, told the convention hall Clinton was, “exactly the kind of commander in chief America needs.”
Clinton’s speech was void of any specific policy she would pursue against ISIS, with respect to the U.S. role in the ongoing Syrian civil war, or against Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. In October 2015, Clinton broke with the Obama administration and said she would declare a no-fly zone over parts of Syria. President Barack Obama has repeatedly resisted calls for a no-fly zone.
While Clinton has been hawkish on Syria, her rhetoric indicates she would likely pursue a more robust version of Obama’s basic strategy against ISIS. Obama and the Pentagon have repeatedly defined success against ISIS in terms of territory seized by the group in Iraq and Syria. Obama continues to emphasize the U.S. must look at the fight against ISIS as a generational struggle that cannot be fixed overnight. Clinton mirrored Obama’s rhetoric in her address when she said ISIS’s defeat “won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake, we will prevail.”
Republican Nominee Donald Trump’s keynote address before the Republican Nation Convention on July 21 was similar in lack of specific prescriptions for the fight against ISIS. Trump blamed Clinton and Obama for the rise of ISIS in his address saying, “In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map.” Trumpcontinued , “we are going to defeat the barbarians of ISIS.”
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