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Make America First Again: Grand Strategy Analysis and the Trump Administration By Jac ...

Chapter 1:  A Strategic Riddle
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Make America First Again:

Chapter 1

A Strategic Riddle


Donald Trump insisted that he held a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Under a black flag, the Islamist insurgency had torn across Syria and Iraq with brutal violence.1 Its leaders had an uncompromisingly apocalyptic ideology. Through 2014 and 2015, images of systemically murdered prisoners of war and stories of women forced into marriages or slavery shocked the world. The group grew from seeds planted by earlier Iraqi extremists and now emerged as a well-organized, conventional military force that seized and held territory. President Obama’s administration responded slowly. Officials feared falling into a quagmire. Nevertheless, when ISIS threatened genocide and murdered two American journalists, US officials ramped up a strategy to slowly strangle the organization. Many saw ISIS as one of the globe’s most critical security threats. Pressed by reporters about how he would respond, then-candidate Trump declared that he wanted to be unpredictable. He said his political opponents in the Republican primary were giving away victory plans with public, detailed policy positions. What kind of strategist gives