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Top National Security Issues of 2018

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The National Security Program

During their terms in office, elected officials will have to address a variety of national security and foreign policy concerns facing the United States. Recent national polling has indicated that fighting terrorism remains the top policy priority for those Americans surveyed. Policymakers and candidates must be prepared to answer tough questions on this and other national security issues affecting the United States during the 2018 elections.

In this memo, we provide short talking points on the most pressing questions likely to be asked of candidates on these issues. More background can be found in the country and issue briefs included in the rest of Third Way’s 2018 National Security Debate Book.

#1 Terrorism

Q: What should the United States do to defeat ISIS?

A: Democrats and Republicans are united in making sure ISIS cannot harm Americans. Thanks to a global effort against ISIS started by President Obama, the group has lost its hold in Iraq and Syria but we must remain vigilant in our fight against terrorism and have a smart and tough strategy of what to do next. While President Trump has continued the Obama approach of targeting ISIS, he has also been stoking fear at home while alienating our partners and allies, the very communities and partner nations we need to stop terrorists. At the same time, President Trump must do far more to condemn horrible right wing-extremists. Violent right-wing extremism is up under Trump, including during the Charlottesville protests last year. We need a strategy to combat terrorism that understands the diverse, evolving threats we face, brings together all of our different government capabilities, and strengthens our domestic and international partnerships in the fight.

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