John Kasich's bizarre new plan to defeat ISIS: Beam Judeo-Christian messages around the world

Kasich wants to create a new federal agency tasked with spreading the missionary message of "Western ethic"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published November 18, 2015 2:27PM (EST)

  (AP/Jim Cole)
(AP/Jim Cole)

Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is taking the conservative tradition of warring over the words used to describe terrorism committed by religious radicals to the next level, leaving behind the debate over the use of "radical Islam" to offer a rhetorical plan to defeat jihadist propaganda -- beam in the Bible.

"We need to beam messages around the world about what it means to have a Western ethic, to be a part of a Christian-Judeo society," Kasich said in an interview Tuesday with NBC News, announcing his plan to create a new federal agency tasked with supporting the Jewish and Christian traditions around the world. Kasich said his new agency would have a “clear mandate to promote core Judeo-Christian, Western values that we and our friends and allies share.”

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. earlier in the day, Kasich said the U.S. "must be more forceful in the battle of ideas. U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents' propaganda and disinformation."

The U.S. is "failing to advance our values in the battle of ideas," Kasich lamented to NBC's Peter Alexander.

“Unless we want to see bloodshed in America, we need to get serious immediately about dealing with this threat,” the Ohio Republican said. “There can be no negotiating with this darkness, we must simply defeat it.”

“I believe America is exceptional. It is simply a statement of the obvious. We’re exceptional because of our uniqueness,” he told a crowd at the Press Club. “It’s not someone else’s job nor is it our job alone. We can fix this.”

"It is essential to begin to spread who we are, and why we are who we are, and what we represent," he said on NBC. "It is essential," Kasich added, "that those in the West begin to embrace again our Jewish and Christian tradition rather than running from it, hiding from it."

Part of Kasich's plan to defeat terror groups includes the distribution of Judeo-Christian teachings in the Middle East, China, Iran and Russia. "Sophisticated strategies will be developed to communicate with each of these hard target countries," Kasich promised. The agency's "job would be fundamentally to revive what we used to do when we beamed messages into the former Soviet Union," he explained.

Despite his adamant belief in the power of persuasion and his understanding of the role rhetoric plays in inflaming divisions, Kasich told NBC News that he stands by his decision to scapegoat all Syrian refugees for the terror attacks in Paris and ban any further refugee resettlement in his state. "I don't think any refugee should come into our country now until we can determine who they are, that our country will be save."

Watch Kasich's interview with NBC News:

John Kasich Does Personal 180 On Refugee Policy

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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