Trump’s Saudi Arabia Speech Was Not The Opposite Of Obama’s Doctrine

I’ll just say it: Trump’s recent speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was not a total manifestation rhetoric juxtaposed to Obama’s promulgated in the Middle East. In fact, much of it was reminiscent of Obama’s Cairo speech he gave in 2009. Trump campaigned on making sure to call radical Islamic terror for what it is: radical Islamic terror. However, in his newest speech delivered on Sunday, Trump refused to label Islamic terror as being Islamic. “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump said. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.”

Uh, no.

Sorry, Trump, but you don’t get to do that. You don’t get to campaign on promising to label something so pivotal as what it is and then walk back on it immediately, likely because of White House National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster’s influence, and not get called out on it.

I say that President Trump’s assertion on Islamic terror being unrelated to Islam is similar to Obama’s doctrine because it is. “[Y]ou’ll make clear that this is not a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. This is a struggle between the peace-loving, overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world and a radical, tiny minority. And ultimately, I’m confident that the overwhelming majority will win that battle. Muslims will decide the future of your faith. And I’m confident in the direction that it will go,” said Obama during a 2016 speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

To be fair, just before President Trump spouted out the asinine notion that suggests Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, just as President Obama did, he mentioned: “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” So, which is it? Is it Islamic or not, Mr. President? His unwillingness to mark Islamic terror as related to Islam is the main thing folks on the Left are clinging onto in order to claim his speech wasn’t all that bad.

Another gripe that I have with his speech was the invocation of a less diplomatic interventionist dogma and more of a “we’ll leave you alone” type of deal. In fact, Trump basically said this in Riyadh today, “We are not here to lecture – we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” Trump stated. He also said, “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land. And drive them out of this earth,” them being radical Islamists.

The problem with this isolationist mindset is that Saudi Arabia and the other approximately 49 Muslim-majority countries across the globe are not taking tremendous strides to inculcate a reformed version of Islam in their culture, nor are they effectively suppressing terrorist regimes. At least, not without America’s help. That’s because those countries do not want to do it, or simply cannot. If the advancement and improvement of human rights worldwide through the explosion of terroristic groups is Trump’s goal, he should take into account that America, as well as other Western civilizations, is going to be an inexorable piece of the puzzle.

In essence, Trump’s speech was OK. It wasn’t terrible because he did focus on terrorism, but it wasn’t great, because he described problems facing the Muslim world but offered no cohesive solutions. In fact, he suggested American isolationism, a worldview that’s detrimental to the betterment of human rights. The only way to improve the lives of peaceful Muslims living abroad is through the ejection of terrorists and the reformation of Islam. The only way to do that is by recognizing a massive problem is a form of Islam and by helping out.Reverting to Obama-era tactics does not abet the situation. Period.

Greg Matusow

Author: Greg Matusow

Greg Matusow is a conservative writer and founder of