According to New York Times:

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria called President-elect Donald J. Trump “a natural ally” in the struggle against terrorism,

Newsweek says:

This position—leaving Assad in place and focusing on fighting the Islamic State group (ISIS), in coordination with the Russians, if necessary—is precisely the one advocated by Trump during the 2016 campaign. “Trump has merely articulated what has been the U.S.’s actual policy” for at least a year and a half, says Landis. For perhaps the first time this year, that puts Obama and Trump in agreement on foreign policy. Both are skeptical of the neoconservative doctrine of democracy through regime change—and both agree that ISIS, not Assad, is the main threat to world (and American) security. Even Trump’s idea of fighting ISIS alongside Putin is Obama’s ; for months, Secretary of State John Kerry was discussing joint operations against the militants with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva.

But he said in this speech:

To all our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again. America is going to be a reliable friend and ally again.

This creates a bit of confusion. If he helps Assad beat Daesh, it would anger most US allies of the ME. Has he ever explained how he would tackle such situation (I mean, help Assad without angering ME allies of the US)?

  • 1
    What makes you think Donald Trump would help Assad who is supported by Russia? Don't you think your question is confusing? What does "America is going to be strong again" have to do with helping Assad?
    – Rathony
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:07
  • 1
    Did you notice the quote also contains this: "America is going to be a reliable friend and ally again." Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:09
  • 1
    It doesn't say reliable friend and ally of Assad. Where did you get the idea of Trump helping Assad? Has he ever mentioned he would support Assad in the past? What makes you think he would change his mind? What does the word reliable have to do with helping or not helping Assad?
    – Rathony
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:11
  • 4
    When a politician makes a general statement it should generally be ignored. Those kind of statements are meant to mean nothing while providing a positive tone. It is quite common. I would drop the Trump quote and look at real commitments made or officials nominated/publicly considered to guess what he plans. And it would certainly be a guess
    – user9389
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:11
  • 2
    @Rathony Did you see this? "leaving Assad in place and focusing on fighting the Islamic State group (ISIS), in coordination with the Russians, if necessary—is precisely the one advocated by Trump ..." Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


Trump didn't ever articulate a very elaborate position on Syria. His main brief points pre-election were mostly articulated in the following 3 speeches:

  1. Foreign policy speech in April 27, 2016

  2. Terrorism, immigration, and national security speech on June 13, 2016

  3. Fighting terrorism speech in August 15, 2016

The main points are/were:

  • US should refrain from nation-building exercises and pushing for regime changes in general - including in Syria.

    Typically this point was combined with attributing pushing for such a change to causing rise of ISIS, mostly as an attack on Obama/Clinton policy failure.

    However, unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength. Although not in government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq, very proudly, saying for many years that it would destabilize the Middle East. [1]

    The decision to overthrow the regime in Libya, then pushing for the overthrow of the regime in Syria, among other things, without plans for the day after, have created space for ISIS to expand and grow. [2]

    By that same token, President Obama and Hillary Clinton should never have attempted to build a Democracy in Libya, to push for immediate regime change in Syria or to support the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt. [3]

  • Syria is an example of ISIS threat

    Syria is in the midst of a disastrous civil war. ISIS controls large portions of territory. A refugee crisis now threatens Europe and the United States. [3]

  • Russia should be considered an ally as far as fighting ISIS

    I also believe that we could find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. They too have much at stake in the outcome in Syria, and have had their own battles with Islamic terrorism. [3]

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