WASHINGTON (AFP) - The world would be a better place if dictators such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Gaddafi were still in power, top US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said.
The billionaire real estate tycoon also told CNN's State of the Union talk show in comments aired on Sunday (Oct 25) that the Middle East "blew up" around US President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, his biggest Democratic rival in the race for the White House.
"100 per cent," Mr Trump said when asked if the world would be better off with Hussein and Gaddafi still at the helm in Iraq and Libya.
Both strongmen committed atrocities against their own people and are now dead.
Saddam, the former Iraqi president, was toppled in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and was executed in 2006.
Gaddafi - who ruled Libya for four decades - was ousted and slain in October 2011.
"People are getting their heads chopped off. They're being drowned. Right now it's far worse than ever under Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi," Mr Trump said.
"I mean, look what happened. Libya is a catastrophe. Libya is a disaster. Iraq is a disaster. Syria is a disaster. The whole Middle East. It all blew up around Hillary Clinton and around Obama. It blew up."
Calling Iraq the "Harvard of terrorism", Mr Trump said the country had turned into a "training ground for terrorists".
"If you look at Iraq from years ago, I'm not saying he (Saddam) was a nice guy. He was a horrible guy but it's better than it is now," he said.
He said his foreign policy strategy would be centred around beefing up the US military.
"All I know is this: we're living in Medieval times ... We're living in an unbelievably dangerous and horrible world," he said.
"The Trump doctrine is simple," he added. "It's strength. It's strength. Nobody is going to mess with us. Our military will be made stronger."