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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Cold War Mindset and Counterterrorism

The Cold War Mindset and Counterterrorism

by Paul R. Pillar
Much of Donald Trump’s recent speech on terrorism left one to wonder how what he was proposing would differ from current practices he supposedly was criticizing. Working on counterterrorism with other states including Russia, for example, sounds like what the Obama administration is doing now, including discussing with the Russians ways of combating terrorist groups in Syria. And it is hard to see how Trump’s “extreme vetting” would differ from the existing and already extensive review process for visa applications.
Other parts of what Trump was proposing were just too vague for us to get a good idea of how they would be supposed to work. This is true of his proposal to suspend immigration from unnamed regions that either—depending on which sentence in the speech one looks at—are “some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism” or “where adequate screening cannot take place.” If any such list of regions were broad enough to stop a terrorist group trying to infiltrate operators into the United States, it would be so broad as to end immigration into the United States altogether.

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