President Barack Obama hopes his successor was listening.
In his final national security address, Obama spoke Tuesday to a room full of service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. But his message was squarely delivered to the next commander in chief.
Obama advised President-elect Donald Trump, without mentioning him by name, on what he framed as a sustainable counterterrorism strategy for the next administration that maintains American values and keeps America safe. Much of that plan, though, without question ran counter to Trump’s views.
Trump, for example, has said he “would bomb the s— out of” Islamic State militants, a terrorist threat he once accused Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton of having created, dubbing them co-founders. He also claimed during the campaign that the Islamic State was rooting for Clinton because Trump “will be their worst nightmare.”
“Rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs or deploying more and more troops or fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat, and we have to pursue a smart strategy than can be sustained,” Obama warned.
He cast the Islamic State as a group that portrays itself “as the vanguard of a new world order.” “They are not,” he said. “They are thugs and they are murderers and they should be treated that way.”