Pundits had a blast this past week ripping apart Trump’s Youngstown national security address. And then there is Trump’s perspective, which calls to mind the “Simple Son” Jews read about each year in our Passover Haggadah.
This simplicity, scorned by college-educated voters, enables Trump to speak about radical Islam in vastly more direct terms than anything we have yet heard on either side of the aisle. Democrats vehemently reject the strategic imperative of connecting the words “radical” and “Islam.” Republicans have appropriately embraced the terminology but failed to call out radical Islam as a political movement.
Where others have tiptoed gingerly, Trump strikes boldly at the notion that radical Islam deserves protection under the First Amendment, defining it unequivocally as a totalitarian political movement. He underscores this point by equating radical Islamic terrorism with Fascism, Communism, and Nazism.
In referencing “networks in America that support radicalization,” Trump cites Gold Star dad Khizr Khan’s professional advocacy for implementing Sharia law and his facilitation of the immigration of Wahhabist extremists from Saudi Arabia. Trump defends our most cherished democratic principles as embodied in the U.S. Constitution, in contrast to grotesquely un-American Sharia law, in his insistence that “foreign nationals and would-be immigrants to this country must share our values to gain admission.”
Most significant is Trump’s grasp of the organic nature of radical Islam. Contrary to the prevailing narrative that puts ISIS body counts front and center, Trump sees radical Islam as much higher up on the food-chain — a well-oiled machine designed to operate innocuously on a global ideological platform from within the folds of all open and pluralistic societies. It is this modus operandi that has enabled the explosive growth of a legion of Islamist butchers that since 9/11 have been responsible for over 28,796 acts of terror worldwide. “Violent jihadists rely upon and exploit the infrastructure (including mosques, cultural centers, front groups, etc.) that has been systematically put into place in the West over the past fifty years by Islamic supremacists.”
While many have urged a more vigorous pursuit of ISIS and have accurately pointed to the connection between terrorist acts and radical Islamist ideology, none have taken the critical step of arguing for the demolition of the institutional firewalls between Islamist militarism and Islamist ideological institutions. Islamist ideology is actually the beating heart of today’s wave of Islamist terror but has been institutionally disconnected from its barbarous 1,400-year-old track record.
Notwithstanding Trump’s rhetorical missteps, his passionate call for uprooting radical Islam by actually connects the dots between militaristic Islamism and its ideological wellspring is unquestionably incisive.