Date
24 May 2017
Getting rid of Syrian dictator Bashir Assad wouldn't be such a good idea, as it would leave a power vacuum and be a recipe for instability, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump say. Photo: AFP/SANA
Getting rid of Syrian dictator Bashir Assad wouldn't be such a good idea, as it would leave a power vacuum and be a recipe for instability, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump say. Photo: AFP/SANA

US should not try to topple dictators, Trump and Sanders say

Two US presidential candidates from opposite ends of the political spectrum agree on one thing: the United States should not try to topple dictators such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

Left-wing Democrat Bernie Sanders and right-wing Republican Donald Trump made remarks to that effect separately on Sunday, highlighting a skepticism over foreign wars that transcends party lines, Reuters reported.

Both candidates said the Middle East would be less tumultuous today if Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein were still in charge.

They argued that the US faces a greater threat from Islamic State and other extremist groups that have flourished in the wake of the toppled dictators.

“The region would be much more stable” with Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad in place, Sanders said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“100 percent — is there even a doubt in your mind?” Trump, the Republican front runner, said in a separate interview on the same show.

Though they agree on little else, Sanders and Trump appeal to voters who view the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a mistake and are leery of getting too deeply involved in the region.

Sanders, seeking to bite into Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton’s big lead just six weeks before the first nominating contest in Iowa, has criticized her for being too quick to intervene in the Middle East.

He has repeatedly reminded voters of Clinton’s support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which she has since called a mistake, and has been critical of her support for the speedy departure of Assad, who has resisted all diplomatic efforts to leave power with a civil war raging in his country and swaths of territory controlled by IS.

Meanwhile, Trump has sought to appeal to hawkish Republican voters by criticizing US President Barack Obama’s administration for not pressing the fight against IS aggressively enough.

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RC/FL

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