Donald J Trump's recent announcement that all muslims should be barred from entry into the USA makes him one of ISIL's prime useful idiots. He is doing exactly what they want him to. In fact, he might as well have strings attached like a puppet. Of course Trump's comments are aimed at a domestic US audience, and are calculated to win the support of Americans who, disillusioned and disaffected with the political establishment, want someone who vocalises what they are thinking. They want someone who 'sticks it to the man', and he is seeking the Republican nomination. Is Trump bothered about widespread condemnation? I doubt it. He is seeking maximum publicity and wants to top the headlines.
However cynical Trump's statements may be, they must be music to the ears of ISIL, whose aim is to spread fear and division in the west. They want to turn non-muslims against muslims because that will cause both fear and division and help them to recruit more supporters. Islamophobia works for them, tolerance and social cohesion works against them.
Meanwhile, in the UK, a majority of our MPs have been rushing to joining the ranks of the useful idiots by voting for the UK to join the bombing campaign in Syria. Much of the pressure that made MPs vote yes came through the mainstream media who helped to spread the fear and panic ISIL wanted by wall-to-wall sensationalist coverage of the recent horrific attacks in Paris. But you can't bomb an idea out of existence and however much we may despise the actions of ISIL in the long term there will have to be a political settlement which isolates the hardcore of fanatics at the heart of the ISIL 'regime'.
None of this is to downplay in any way the horrors inflicted on the citizens of Paris, Beirut, Turkey and the Russian passengers on the flight from Sharm-el-sheik or to underestimate the threat to citizens globally. But a solution cannot be found by playing into the hands of a group we are supposed to be defeating. We need a diplomatic and political solution which involves the disparate groups in Syria, and we need to support groups such as the Kurds who could be capable of defeating ISIL on the ground if we were prepared to give them the help they need.