Why Trump-Pence should be Pence-Trump

Before anyone gets shocked by this title coming from a registered Democrat who absolutely despises Pence’s stand on social issues, please refer to the following comparison of their thoughts on Syria.

If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?

Pence:

“Provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength.”

This is a general statement of his policy toward the world power that is Russia. It encapsulates his overall views on our relationship with this country and, whether you agree with it or not, is a clear and coherent declaration that can be followed to a logical conclusion.

“If Russia continues to be involved in airstrikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad,…”

Here, Pence shows that he is knowledgeable of international policy, forces, and conflicts. He presents verifiable facts that may have counterpoints or need qualification but are at least a fairly accurate summary of the situation in Syria with regards to Russia. This also provides detail to support his larger argument that this type of provocation requires a show of strength by the United States and highlights his awareness of the US’s recent complex relationship with Russia on this issue.

“the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.”

Conclusion: strong, clear goal with feasible response that prioritizes the threat of the Assad regime to its own people and the dangerous prospect of a Russia-Syria-Iran coalition should their attempts to keep Assad in power succeed. I now know where Pence stands on this issue.

Trump:

“I think you have to knock out ISIS.”

This is a fairly meaningless statement in reference to the question that was asked. It is clearly a priority for America and the world in more places than Syria. However, this is a long-term goal that may never be accomplished and an over-simplification of a complex situation in which over 60 different factions have been involved, including ISIS, other al-Qaeda related organizations, and multiple world powers. Also Trump, unlike Pence, doesn’t outline any particular theme or tactic for accomplishing this goal.

“Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time.”

This is true. Syria is fighting ISIS and many other factions that the US may actually support. In the course of this struggle, Syria has released a series of chlorine gas attacks within its own borders and requested repeated bombings by Russia on its own soil. To say that Syria is fighting ISIS is like saying Trump is fighting Megyn Kelly. While this is true, he is also fighting against multiple other media outlets while also being supported by several other heavy hitting big names in the media. She, just like ISIS, is one element of an extremely complicated conflict that requires delicate handling of multiple issues at once, and we have no choice but to fight more than one at a time. They are all current threats and need to be addressed.

“But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran,…”

This is also relatively true, if you take it to mean that Syria is in bed with both of these powers and is poised to create a strong alliance in the Middle East if they are successful in supporting the Assad regime. Of course, this actually reveals that the strategy of attacking ISIS (which combined with his previous statements implicitly means in support of Syria) is far too simplistic to handle this situation.

“Which [Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton] made strong and scary and Obama made into a powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly.”

Aaaaand pivot to what he does best, which is to cast blame on other people instead of addressing the question. It almost seems like he gets stuck and runs out of material and knowledge on the issues (as his own staff says, it’s useless to try to “fill his head with facts and figures”) and does what you would do in a fight with your spouse about why the dishes didn’t get washed (“Well, you didn’t do them last week.”). Also, speaking of Syria in the same terms that you would talk to your 5-year-old about the bogeyman does not inspire much confidence and reveals that he understands the details so little that he resorts to vague characterizations. I would really like him to provide some specifics about how the US has made Syria into this powerful nation that he simultaneously says is no longer strong enough to carry its own identity. If this is true, I would like to know exactly what he means by this. In the research I have done, it appears that the United States has actually supported Syrian opposition groups.

“I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved.”

Again, this is so vague as to be bordering on a non-statement. How do we “get ISIS”? In what ways should we be involved or not (which was the question to begin with)? How involved are we and how involved should we be? What is “too much more”? How can we hold off being involved in Syria while trying to fight ISIS in Syria (as well as other places)?

“She had a chance to do something with Syria, they had a chance.”

Once again, the lack of specifics. What should she have done and what would he have done differently? And if we’re speaking in terms this general, she (and the President, and multiple Senate and House committees and several military generals) “did something” with Syria. They attempted to form a task force that included Russia, and Russia failed to live up to the commitments of that agreement. Maybe he should talk about what he thinks of what “they” did do.

“And that was the line.”

Conclusion: Completely vague and enigmatic nonsensical jumble of words. What is “the line”? What does that even mean? Line of demarcation? Did they “cross the line”? Are they standing in line? What that sentence actually sounds like is a line of auto-generated beatnik poetry from an online poem generator. Amid all the contradictions and blame shifts, I have no idea what Trump has or has not said about this issue.

As a last note, I’d like to point out that neither of them addressed the humanitarian aspect at all. I consider this a major failing and an indication that both lack empathy and humanity.

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