Will We Go To War If Donald Trump Wins? The Election Could Have National Security Implications

Supporters of US presidential canditate Donald Trump celebrates his seats at the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney on November 9, 2016. Australian stocks climbed 0.80 percent at the open in anticipation of a victory for Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election. / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

As the results come rolling in on Election Night, many questions are coming into the public consciousness along with them. One important question to ask, however, is a "what if" — if Donald Trump wins the election and becomes president, will the United States be forced to go to war? Perhaps the key component of this question is the unstated variable: that is, the other country. Were Trump elected, with what country would the U.S. go to war? Several options seem plausible. The most likely candidates seem to be based not in policy clashes between the U.S. and other nations, but in projections of extra-national concerns that Trump seems to view as reflections on the countries in which they manifest themselves. To be clear: if Trump has it his way, we will have a full-on war with anyone who is associated with ISIS.

There are several problems with the potential realization of this wish, aside from the bare prospect of war. Though ISIS does not have any actual ties to any real national governments, its proliferation in Iraq and Syria, as the acronym suggests, tends to provoke connections between ISIS and these countries as cooperating entities. A war against ISIS may deteriorate into a war against Iraq or Syria. While Syria is engulfed in a civil war, the Iraqi government has been fighting the terrorist group. Associating ISIS with any specific country would be a dire mistake — the terrorist group is an independent entity — but it may be possible in a Trump presidency. 

"We're going to declare war against ISIS. We have to wipe out ISIS," Trump has said multiple times.

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While Trump would declare war and send ground troops to fight ISIS, it is not in the president's power to declare war. Only Congress has the power to declare war. But if elected, Trump should not face much of a partisan problem when seeking support from Congress for war — Congress will remain overwhelmingly Republican.

In addition to his often-promised war on ISIS, Trump has not ruled out war with Mexico, either — should they refuse to pay for the wall that he wants to build along the Southern border, he has insinuated that he would be willing to declare war on the United States' southern neighbor. Trump's arsenal of actual strategies and military tactics has yet to be revealed, but his stance on war as a way of solving problems is a clear green light.

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