Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson on Monday released his plan to defeat ISIS — one that relies heavily on partners in the Middle East and calls on Congress to issue a formal declaration of war on the terrorist group.
Experts called Carson’s foreign-policy knowledge into question after the retired neurosurgeon delivered a weak debate performance and implied that the Chinese military was involved in the conflict in Syria.
Carson now seems to be attempting to shake up his campaign and discuss foreign policy and national security more often on the campaign trail, just more than a month before the first votes are cast in the Republican nomination process.
The site Carson created to tout his plan to defeat ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh) opens with a statement from the candidate declaring that the US “must act boldly and decisively to protect American citizens from terrorists at home and abroad.”
“We must destroy [ISIS’] caliphate and prevent their terrorists from infiltrating our homeland,” Carson said. “We must also secure our borders, identify radical Islamic extremism by name and root out its agents and collaborators in our own country.”
Here are the seven pillars of Carson’s plan summed up:
- Declare war on ISIS.
- Form a military coalition in the Middle East to fight ISIS, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
- Urge regional partners in the Middle East to recruit and train “Sunni Syrian men based in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and of Sunni Syrian male refugees in Jordan.” (There is no mention of Iraqi Sunnis.)
- Establish a refugee safe zone in northeastern Syria and put refugees under “international protection.”
- Put “emergency” visa and immigration policies into place and “limit visitor visas to three months with mandatory check-ins for extensions no longer than three months.”
- Immediately deploy military and National Guard troops to patrol US borders.
- Designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and “fully investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and a supporter of terrorism.” Carson’s original proposal to investigate the group drew scrutiny in October.
Carson has been falling in the polls amid questions of his readiness to be commander-in-chief.
In a wide-ranging interview that was published this week, The Washington Post asked Carson what happened to his previous status at the top of the polls. Carson pointed to a “narrative” that he said developed after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
“Unfortunately, Paris happened. San Bernardino happened,” Carson said. “Somehow the narrative has been projected that if you’re soft-spoken and mild-mannered, there is no way you can deal with terrorism, with national security, that you’re not a strong person. That’s the narrative that is out there. Is that true? I’m not sure it is.”
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