Obama says Trump’s Islamic State approach could ‘backfire’

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2016 01:29 IST
US President Barack Obama (centre), Vice President Joe Biden (left) and Defense Secretary Ash Carter (right), at a meeting of the National Security Council at the Pentagon on Friday. (REUTERS)

US President Barack Obama has said Donald Trump’s approach to dealing with the Islamic State could end up “backfiring” and playing into the hands of the terrorist group.

“If we start making bad decisions — indiscriminately killing civilians, for example,” Obama told reporters at a briefing on Thursday, “in some of these areas, instituting offensive religious tests on who can enter the country — those kinds of strategies can end up backfiring.”

Though he didn’t name Trump, it was clear he was addressing the Republican nominee who has said he would “bomb the shit out of them (the IS)”, and has proposed denying entry into the US for immigrants from areas of the world “compromised” by terrorism.

Trump is also being attacked for his comments on Russia and admiration for its president ,Vladimir Putin. A former acting head of the CIA, Michael Morell, wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times on Friday, “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr Putin had recruited Mr Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Obama has been extremely critical of Trump, openly in recent days. He called the real estate mogul “unfit” for the office of president at a news briefing earlier this week.

After a long meeting with his national security team at the Pentagon to review the war against the IS on Friday, Obama said, “In order for us to ultimately win this fight, we cannot frame this as a clash of civilisations between the West and Islam. That plays exactly into the hands of ISIL and the perversions -- the perverse interpretations of Islam that they’re putting forward.”

Asked if Trump could be trusted with America’s nuclear weapons, he said, “Just listen to what Mr Trump has to say and make your own judgment with respect to how confident you feel about his ability to manage things like our nuclear triad.”

Trump is reported to have asked a foreign policy expert recently why the US can’t use its nuclear weapons. “If we have them, why can't we use them?” he is said to have asked.

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