Trump has to choose a strategy.

There has been a huge uproar over President Trump’s Executive order to limit immigration from seven Middle East countries that are in turmoil. A Seattle federal district judge issued a restraining order to block the immigration “pause.”

The result is widely hailed by Democrats and the usual open borders advocates.

Still, there is some trepidation about the Democrats’ vulnerability on this issue.

Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments. The party has relied on opposing Trump’s more outrageously exaggerated claims about the criminality and all-around character flaws of immigrants. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but as November showed, it doesn’t go far enough.

The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy — people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card — can’t vote.

Most of this is, like the British Labour Party, an attempt the replace one voting group with another.

However, aside from the implications for employment for American citizens, there is the question of terrorism.

We are conducting a war with radical Islam in the Middle East.

How do we fight that war ?

One of the problems facing the Trump administration is the lack of an overall strategy to defeat radical Islamism. The one left over from the Obama administration consists of a schizophrenic blend of attempting to solve “root causes” incongruously combined with a program of targeted assassination. “The U.S. dropped an average of three bombs an hour in 2016 — a total of 26,171 explosive devices dropped in seven countries in the past year” according to a report published at the close of President Barack Obama’s second term, not counting thousands of air strikes which went unreported according to the Military Times. This vast campaign of targeted aerial assassination was accompanied by what the Nation called “the secret nation-building boom of the Obama years”. By 2014 Obama had doubled “nation-building spending from $24.3 billion to $51.3 billion”.

The Trump administration campaigned on argument the Obama strategy has failed. David Ignatius says the Trump White House is steeling itself for the fallout.

Michael Flynn, the national security adviser to President Trump, shows visitors a map predicting what will happen to the Islamic State after its stronghold in Mosul is captured. It shows menacing black arrows reaching west toward future battlefronts in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

That’s the worry that motivates the Trump administration as it plans strategy against the terrorist group: Rather than a shattering defeat for the adversary, Mosul may be the start of a breakout to other regions.

What if the ISIS terrorists all go home ?

The new ISIS nightmare according to the Christian Science Monitor is that having lost their geographical bastions, its soldiers are going home to start new Syrias. “As coalition and allied forces push through Mosul, Iraq, and close in on the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa, Syria, Arab states are bracing what some are calling a ‘disaster’: waves of ISIS fighters returning back home.”

Attacks have left citizens apprehensive over the fighters’ return. In December, Tunisians protested against the return of former Islamic State fighters, holding signs like “Close the doors to terrorism” in front of parliament. Here in Jordan, many know a son of a neighbor, colleague, or distant relative who has gone off to fight to Syria.
“It is better for them to die in Syria then to come back and ruin our homeland,” says Mohammed, a 45-year-old grocer in Amman, who says he knows of “several” families whose sons have travelled to Syria.

I have read that there is little opposition to Trump’s travel ban.

Dubai’s deputy chief of police and public security, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, has praised US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to temporarily ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority states, saying in a series of tweets it was a ‘preventive measure’ to safeguard the country

“Kudos to President Trump for his brave decisions… they (these people) can only be dealt with through preventive measures,” he said in an Arabic-language tweet dated January 29 on his official Twitter account.

“Trump banned the citizens of countries in the embrace of Iran and prevented the Iranians from entering… sound decision,” he added in another tweet…. “It is not necessary for America to host backward people, it has received enough before,” he said in one tweet. “What would a Yemini, Iraqi, Iranian, Somali or a Syrian do in America? They have destroyed their countries, they should not destroy America.”

What about Afghanistan and Pakistan?

To make matters worse, Russia and Iran have increased their involvement in Afghanistan in recent months. … The General also made it clear that the large youth populations in both countries—200 million people, 70 percent of whom are under 30—make them rife for the gestation of terrorist networks and recruitment of young and willing individuals. In the long term, this alone poses a massive threat to stability in the region and to US national security.

Should Afghanistan be written off ? I have been saying we should get out of Afghanistan for years.

Pakistan is not an ally.

The enemy has a sanctuary and our allies are siding secretly with our enemies.

Here’s how the game works. The Pakistanis are currently engaged in a much heralded crackdown on jihadists. But they are limiting those operations to the jihadists in the northwest tribal region — i.e., those whose primary target is the Pakistani government. By contrast, the Taliban — i.e., the jihadists targeting the U.S. and Afghanistan — are holed up in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, under the protection of the ISI. In fact, there are now reports that Mullah Omar has been moved to Karachi to protect him from U.S. drone attacks.

Pakistan is playing a double game. Secondly, our troops are handicapped by absurd rules of engagement.

That was 2009. It is worse now. I am reading a book called “Hunter Killer” about the Predator program by an Air Force officer who has been involved since the beginning. The ROE just got worse.

What does Trump do now ?

To avoid defeat from attrition Trump will need a new approach. While none has been officially announced the outlines of a new strategy may be emerging from the actions it has so far taken. Trump may be:

Attempting to shrink the radical petrodollar support through increased domestic energy production, something Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would understand;
close the West to Wahabism and its emigres via the immigration policy that is proving so controversial;
trying to diplomatically neutralize Turkey and Iran and play off India against Pakistan.
Such a concept would attack the money and ideology provided by the Saudis, lessen the influence of the Islamic brain trust (the Persians and Turks) and bottle up a potential sources of nuclear weapons (Pakistan). It would also prevent the buildup of a rear area inside the West itself by border control. It’s a WW2 or Cold War Era “center of gravity” approach to a problem so far dominated by the “root causes” method.

Is this what the “travel ban” is a first step to ?

We may find out in 120 days.

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