Donald Trump’s decision to ban travel to the US for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may ultimately increase the US terror risk, rather than lowering it.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to ban travel to the US for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may ultimately increase the US terror risk, rather than lowering it, Cliff Kupchan, the Eurasia Group's chairman, practice head for Eurasia, and director for both global macro and Iran coverage told www.valdaiclub.com.
“Yes, the new ruling could prevent terrorists from reaching US soil – it is likely to make a contribution [to reducing the terror threat]. But offsetting that is the anger the executive order will cause in many Muslim countries. It will probably cause many Muslims to become convinced that the US is against them. That would radicalize individuals, and increase the threat to the US,” Kupchan told valdaiclub.com.
According to Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Associate Professor of Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran, the ban also punishes the countries that have been victims of terrorism, while the countries that were the source of most perpetrators of terrorists remain unaffected.
“The view in Tehran is that the United States basically knows that the terrorism that we for example see in Iraq and Syria comes from Saudi Arabia. Yet, instead of punishing Saudi Arabia, they punish the victims, such as Syria and Iraq,” Marandi told valdaiclub.com.
Kupchan noted that the parallel to US President Obama’s decision to require visas from citizens of Visa Waiver Program countries that visited those seven countries, popularly rolled out in defense of Trump’s policy, is inaccurate. That act, enacted after the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernandino, California impacted only citizens in the VWP program, primarily high-income countries in Europe and East Asia.
He also noted that while Obama did not succeed at preventing all terrorist attacks, the United States nevertheless was more successful than Europe at preventing them, including the particularly unpredictable lone wolf attacks.
“I don’t think the executive order will be very effective. First, the US – in part because of excellent intelligence and law enforcement – has seen comparatively few terrorist attacks on its soil. 9/11, San Bernadino, and Orlando did happen – so the track record is blemished. But compared to Europe the US has been hit less hard,” Kupchan told valdaiclub.com.
Nevertheless, Donald Trump’s decision ultimately may hurt the United States more than it helps, as its international standing and prestige is hurt by actions that are widely seen as prejudiced, Marandi told valdaiclub.com.
“I don’t think it will have much of an impact because Iran and the United States don’t have trade relations or political relations. In general, this is going to hurt the standing of the United States and the prestige of the United States among the international community because, obviously, the banning of people from these countries is prejudiced, and this is there for the entire international community to see, so it’s hurting the image of the United States already,” Marandi told valdaiclub.com.
Since enacting the order, Donald Trump has also went on to reject a deal on refugees made with Australia, and also talked about an agreement with Saudi Arabia on the establishment of ‘safe zones’ in Syria and Yemen, although details have yet to be fleshed out.