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Hillary, Trump exchange barbs

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GOP candidate accuses rival of favouring ‘military adventurism’, while Clinton terms him unfit.

Ahead of facing an audience of military veterans in a town hall interaction on Wednesday, presidential candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump questioned each other’s eligibility to be the Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most powerful military. Mr. Trump accused his rival of favouring “military adventurism”, while Ms. Clinton termed her opponent “temperamentally unfit.”

Continuing with the national security and strategic policy themes, both candidates were to take questions from veterans one after the other in New York, but not come face to face on Wednesday.

Mr. Trump has earned the wrath of many commentators for his disparaging comments about the family of a slain Muslim solider, but he is more popular among military veterans than Ms. Clinton, according to opinion polls.

Best-equipped person

Military and strategic community leaders, on the other hand, have largely been with Ms. Clinton, who gained the support of even most of the Bush-era neoconservatives. However, on Tuesday, Mr. Trump got 88 former military officers to endorse him. The signatories said Mr. Trump was the best-equipped person to do a “long overdue course-correction in our national security posture”.

Mr. Trump’s attack on Tuesday on Ms. Clinton and her policy in West Asia as Secretary of State was equally an assault on George W. Bush, the last Republican President who triggered the turmoil in the region with his ‘regime change’ policies. Mr. Bush has not endorsed Mr. Trump.

“Hillary Clinton favours what is called military adventurism. Rushing to invade countries, displacing millions of families, then inviting the refugees into our country. Creating power vacuum filled by terrorist groups, like ISIS (Islamic State). And believe me, there are plenty of people who are close to ISIS, who are coming to our country. This is the greatest Trojan horse of all time. I don’t want people to be reading about it in 200 or 400 years,” said Mr. Trump.

“I believe in a foreign policy that is based on our national interest, that focus on American security, and regional stability instead of using our military to creating democracies in countries that have no democratic history and couldn’t care less about democracy. We are trying to force democracy down their throat, spending trillions of dollars and they don’t even want it,” Mr. Trump said.”

American values

While Ms. Clinton ruled out the deployment of American ground troops in West Asia, her speech in Florida was in tune with the conventional notion of the military being the keeper and protector of “American values” all over the world.

Contrasting her long experience in foreign policy with Mr. Trump’s inexperience, Ms. Clinton said: “He says he has a secret plan to defeat ISIS, but the secret is he has no plan.” Ms. Clinton also recalled the Republican’s earlier statements that encouraged torture of the families of terrorists and mocked prisoners of war. She cited, as an example of American military’s chivalry, the effort taken to not harm women and children during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Mr. Trump backed torture of terrorists family members to extract information

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:12:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Hillary-Trump-exchange-barbs/article14626849.ece

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