Beyond the Podium: Foreign policy in the 2016 presidential campaign

Beyond the Podium: Foreign policy in the 2016 presidential campaign

Foreign policy is front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign, and how to craft a strategy to deal with ISIS is often the centerpiece.

While the candidates often have decidedly opposite positions, critics say both sides lack clarity.

"With the terrorists, you have to take out their families," Donald Trump said in an interview on Fox & Friends last December.

"He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists," Hillary Clinton said at a campaign event.

But what specific military strategy and intervention looks like under each candidate still lacks details for many.

"Both of them have created some broad outlines of how they view the military and how they would use the military but have not gone into details about how they would get there," Philip Lohaus of the American Enterprise Institute said.

Philip Lohaus works on national security and future warfare strategy for the American Enterprise Institute. He says whether it's Clinton suggesting no-fly zones without explanation of how they'll work, or Trump broadly calling for more ground troops, critical details are often absent.

This week, Donald Trump suggested the military simply lacked a sense of urgency to defeat ISIS.

"They will have 30 days to submit to the oval office a plan for soundly, and quickly defeating ISIS," Trump said.

"I think the generals already have sound plans to defeat ISIS. The question isn't what the generals think and whether it's feasible or not. The question is whether it's politically feasible," Lohaus said.

Trump released a list of 88-military endorsements Tuesday, quickly answered by the Clinton campaign with a list of 95 retired admirals and generals who support her as Commander-in-Chief.

"There's a big debate in the national security community about whether it's appropriate or not for these generals to come out and make these endorsements,” Lohaus said. “My personal opinion, when one candidate comes out with a list and another candidate comes out with another list, the effects kind of cancel each other out."

Lohaus says voters will be looking to the debates for a window into the military under each candidate.

ISIS, drones, cyber - all topics on which voters want more information. Including what is going to become of the Veterans Administration. It's another military topic sure to come up at the Commander-in-Chief forum. Donald Trump says he wants to privatize aspects of it and voters are curious to know what Hillary Clinton thinks of the Obama administration's reforms and if she would do anything additionally.

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What issues are relevant to you? What would you ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? We want to give you a voice in this historic and important race for the White House. Click here to email us your questions, or send us a message on our Facebook page.

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