A high-level foreign policy adviser for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is wrong to assert that Trump is unqualified to be commander in chief or lacks the the temperament for the job, and he says Clinton’s record as secretary of state should be the most worrisome foreign policy consideration in this campaign.
Dr. Walid Phares is a longtime terrorism expert and professor of Middle East studies. He is also an accomplished author. He role as a foreign policy adviser for Trump was made public in recent weeks.
Clinton delivered a blistering attack against Trump’s foreign policy statements in her speech on Thursday, while also alleging her likely general election opponent lacks the character for the job.
“Like many across the country and around the world, I believe the person the Republicans have nominated for president cannot do the job,” Clinton said.
Phares said there’s no doubt Clinton knows more people on the international stage and has more experience dealing with vital issues, but he told WND and Radio America her track record is one of failure.
“Once given all this power and all this ability to receive information, what did she do?” Phares asked. “Look at Libya in flames, Syria in flames, Iraq exploding, the Iran deal not working, ISIS not dismantled. The plans are not working. Of course, the reset button that she brought to Moscow led to major crisis with Russia in Ukraine, in Crimea, let alone the rise of jihadi homegrown cells around the world.
“So if you base your judgment on how she strategically positioned herself, at least in the region let alone other regions in terms of North Korea or Russia, then we think it would be much better to have another candidate become president of the United States,” Phares said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Walid Phares:
Aside from alleging Trump doesn’t understand the the nuances of foreign policy, Clinton also said the GOP standard bearer lacks the temperament for the job, even suggesting Trump could start a war over an insult.
Phares rejects the notion that Trump’s temperament disqualifies him from the job on two fronts. First, he calls it “naive” to judge someone’s temperament for the job based on what is said in the heat of the campaign. Second, he said Trump’s career proves he does have the gravitas for the job.
“Because he has been a person who has been in the center of a network for over 20 years – true, it’s not a political network, but it’s an international business network – meeting with politicians, meeting with decision-makers, he has the actual temperament to become the president of the United States,” Phares said.
Among other criticisms, Clinton also attacked Trump for not having any concrete policy ideas on some of the thorniest foreign-policy issues in the world.
“Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different. They are dangerously incoherent,” Clinton said. “They’re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.”
Phares said the true test of leadership is what people do once they’re faced with the relevant information. On that front, he said Trump is clearly stronger than Clinton.
“If Mr. Trump were given the same information about Libya, that Ansar Al-Sharia and other groups that we were arming and training were actually jihadists, would he have accepted that the U.S. arm them and train them? Would he have accepted the policy we had on Libya? Would he have accepted that those weapons would be traveling to Syria and later on create the context for ISIS? No,” Phares said.
He wasn’t done.
“Would he have accepted, with the same information given to him by the negotiators or the intelligence community, that a deal would be cut with the Iranian ayatollahs and $150 billion would be sent to them? Of course not,” Phares said.
“It’s about your judgment when you are dealing with a strategic organization,” he said. “She had her strategic organization at the State Department. He had a strategic organization with multinational companies. We saw that the results were very different.”
Phares said Trump is already receiving briefings from retired military officers and former intelligence personnel. His formal national security briefings will begin after he becomes the Republican nominee next month.
But Phares said Trump’s approach to complex issues as he studies them is encouraging to him.
“He is very inquisitive. He will ask many, many questions,” Phares said. “There are two types of questions that are important that many people who met with him over the many years and months with regard to these international issues (point out). Not just many questions. He always asks the downside of a solution and the alternative to this solution, which tells me that’s how a decision-maker should behave.”