March 23, 2016

Secretary Hillary Clinton blew apart the Republican opposition in a counterterrorism speech she delivered at Stanford University today. You can watch the entire speech above, but if you want to skip to the part I quote below, start at about 7:30 in the video.

With regard to Donald Trump, Clinton asked, "When other candidates talk about building walls around America, I want to ask them: How high does the wall have to be to keep the Internet out?"

After a discussion about the issues surrounding cybersecurity and Silicon Valley, Clinton moved on to the ineffective ways of dealing with terrorism. And in that section, she took care of Ted Cruz, framing her argument against him as someone who would pursue "reckless actions that end up making us less safe."

“It would be a serious mistake to stumble into another costly ground war in the Middle East. If we’ve learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s that people and nations have to secure their own communities. We can, I argue, must support them, but we can’t substitute for them," Clinton said, suggesting that she learned from her own mistake on the Iraq vote.

She continued, “It would also be a serious mistake to begin 'carpet bombing' populated areas 'into oblivion.' Proposing that doesn’t make you sound tough, it makes you sound like you’re in over your head. Slogans aren’t a strategy. Loose cannons tend to misfire. What America needs is strong, smart, steady leadership to wage and win this struggle."

Indeed. In the end, this general election is going to be about a lot of things, but the Middle East will be at the center of it. It is complicated, nuanced, and doesn't lend itself to sloganeering, finger-pointing, or empty threats.

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