Chad Robertson | Staff Writer
Across the board, both Democratic and Republican candidates want to end the threat that the Islamic State poses against the U.S.
Following a number of international attacks recently committed by the terror group, presidential candidates are polishing up foreign policy plans to eradicate the I.S.
What is the Islamic State?
The Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS) is a jihadist group focused within the Middle East. ISIS has held control over areas in Iraq and Syria since 2014.
Its jihadist members abide by an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, aiming to eradicate anyone who believes otherwise.
The group is widely accepted as a terror group, known for its mass beheadings, gruesome killings and international attacks.
International response to the Islamic State was ignited by the November 2015 attacks in Paris and Beirut. U.S. response was further fueled in December 2015 after the shooters in San Bernardino, CA claimed to be part of the terror group as well.
The attacks have carried a clear threat into the election year, and presidential candidates have started honing plans to eradicate the Islamic State.
Donald Trump, for example, told CNN that he is willing to send U.S. forces to Syria and Iraq, as well as bomb Middle Eastern oil fields under the Islamic State’s control to cut off the group’s source of wealth.
Other Republican candidates like Dr. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio have declared that they’re willing to send U.S. forces out to Syria and Iraq to help the Syrian Kurds fight off the extremists.
Texas senator Ted Cruz told CNN he would plan to use a number of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq in order to literally eradicate the Islamic State’s strongholds and members.
“The Islamic State has to be destroyed,” political science junior Kyle Stewart said. “I completely agree with the republicans. We have to get rid of them.”
In November 2015, Hillary Clinton addressed in a speech her plan to deal with the jihadist group. Her plan included a coalition of nations to defeat the Islamic State in the Middle East, dismantle the terrorists’ infrastructure and defend the U.S. from homegrown threats.
Meanwhile, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders said on his campaign website that he would not want the U.S. military spearheading the coalition against the Islamic State and calls on Americans to learn from the war in Iraq.
“You could say I’m somewhere between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” College Democrats president Billy Poer said. “We need to stop the terrorists, but at some point you have to stop killing with more killing.”
Is there a real solution?
The ultimate solution to winning against the Islamic State is still unknown, and wiping out the group entirely could be impossible.
International relations professor Dr. James Meernik said the world is ill-equipped to deal with the Islamic State because it is the first terrorist group of its kind.
“ISIS controls territory, inspires individuals around the world to commit their own acts of terrorism,” Dr. Meernik said. “and the group’s bloodlust knows no bounds.”
Dr. Meernik added that a number of factors deteriorate the effectiveness of a cohesive strategy: open borders in Europe and Africa, self-radicalizing individuals across the world and the ongoing competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran, to name a few.
“ISIS poses a threat to the U.S. and Western countries because of its ability to inspire lone wolf terrorist attacks, as well as more coordinated attacks like in Paris,” Meernik said. “And in other parts of the world, they thrive off of instability and a lack of Western involvement.”
Candidates are bound to strengthen their plans to minimize the threat of the Islamic State as the Nov. 8 election day approaches.
Featured Image: Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have plans to end the threat that the Islamic State poses to the United States. Paulina De Alva | Staff Photographer