The Trump administration will make defeating “radical Islamic terror groups” its top foreign policy goal, according to a statement posted on the White House website moments after Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president.
Trump used his inaugural address on Friday to promise to “unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”.
In the statement titled, “America First Foreign Policy”, the Trump administration said: “Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority.” ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also called ISIL.
In order to “defeat and destroy” ISIL and similar groups, the new American administration said it “will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary”, work to cut off funding for armed groups, expand intelligence sharing, and use “cyberwarfare” to disrupt propaganda and recruitment efforts.
The statement offered no indication of how Trump’s policies might differ from those of his predecessor Barack Obama.
The Obama administration also pursued those broadly described strategies: working with European and Middle Eastern allies in a bombing campaign targeting ISIL leaders and their oil infrastructure, authorising US special forces operations against the group, and using sanctions and other methods to cut off its financing.
Trump’s speech and the statement echoed his campaign criticism of Obama and his election rival, Hillary Clinton, for not using the phrase “radical Islamic terror” to describe ISIL and other hardline groups.
Obama argued that using the term would conflate “murderers” with “the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful”.
Clinton said using the phrase would play into the hands of armed groups that want to portray the United States as at war with Islam.
Trump has been criticised after pledging during the election campaign to implement a “total and complete” ban on Muslims from entering the United States.