Small Wars Journal

Donald Trump’s Worst Enemy and America’s Best Friend in His “War” Against ISIS

Donald Trump’s Worst Enemy and America’s Best Friend in His “War” Against ISIS

Ehsan M. Ahrari

The election of Donald Trump as president has made America’s fight against ISIS increasingly difficult.  The foremost reason may be candidate Trump’s statement that “Islam hates us,” and the spiteful iteration of his favorite phrase, “radical Islamic terrorism,” in condemning the nuanced use of President Barack Obama’s favorite phrase, “religious extremism,” which readily and forcefully condemned ISIS without linking Islam to it.

Critics would say, but ISIS is a part of Islam.  Yes, it is, in the sense that all acts of violence perpetrated by Catholics everywhere in the world is a part of Christianity, or violence committed by the Buddhists in Myanmar is a part of Buddhism, etc.  Every time Trump uses the phrase, “radical Islamic terrorism,” his body language signals a perverse joy.  It is as if he is using a four-letter word.

The clincher is that President Trump’s Muslim ban was issued on January 27, 2017.  However, he may regret using that phrase so casually.  When U.S. and global media used that phrase in describing Trump’s action, the White House adopted a defensive posture.  The global protest of Trump’s executive action banning Muslims and the global social media stories of hundreds of stranded passengers in Muslim countries turned out to be the best propaganda weapon in the hands of anyone who had even the slightest grief toward or resentment of the United States.

A dispatch published in the Washington Times (a source not unfriendly to Trump) noted, “President Trump’s own loose campaign rhetoric may be coming back to bite him, after a federal court said his brash call for a Muslim ban is “‘potential evidence’ that could be used against him in the legal battle over his new extreme vetting executive order.”

One can rest assured that the ISIS propagandists are having a field day.  So, Mr. Trump, we have found the principal enemy of America’s war against ISIS: you!  That is why ISIS, al-Qaida, and the Iranian regime love you!

The popular reaction to Trump’s nefarious Muslim ban created the best electronic image of the United States in the world.  No amount of articulate description of America’s exceptionalism could have matched that positive image, when Jews and Muslims were protesting side by side.  Americans of all colors and ethnicity were at the airports and in the streets of various American megalopolises were condemning Donald Trump’s most injudicious, imprudent, and unwise decision to ban Muslims.

The best pictorial portrayal of America’s exceptionalism can be created just by publishing the collection of those signs from streets and airports of America protesting the Muslim ban.  In this sense, ISIS’ worst enemies were the American masses, those who stood for the exceptional American constitution and its exemplary guarantees of the freedom of religion, separation of religion and state, and, above all, rejection of hatred based on one’s religious identity.