NEW YORK - Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump Sunday argued that the Middle East of today would be much more stable if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were still in power in Iraq and Libya, respectively, saying it's "not even a contest".

"You can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there, it's a mess," Trump said on NBC's "Meet the Press" news programme, referring to the attempts being made to drive Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of power.

Asked if the Middle East would be more stable with Gaddafi and Saddam in power, Trump replied, "Of course it would be.".Trump, who tops the Washington Examiner's latest 2016 power rankings. "Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS ... came out of Iraq — the leftovers that didn't get taken care of."

"Of course [the Middle East] would be [more stable]. You wouldn't have had your Benghazi situation, which is one thing which was just a terrible situation," Trump said. "But, of course, it would. Libya is — is not even — nobody even knows what's going on over there. It's not even a country anymore."

Trump has consistently made it known that he opposed the Iraq War since it began in 2003, a view only shared by Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at the time.

And in light of recent bombing campaigns by Russian forces in Syria, Trump says that he likes "that Putin is bombin' the hell out of ISIS" not because he trusts him, but because he realizes that Putin "doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia." Trump still predicts that Putin will "get bogged down there" much like many other nations who have interceded in Middle Eastern affairs. "Everybody that's gone to the Middle East has had nothing but problems."

But should Trump's policy positions earn him anything but favorability in the polls, he seemed comfortable telling Chuck Todd, the NBC anchorperson,  that he'd be just as happy back in his business. "I'm not a masochist...If I were doing poorly, if I saw myself going down, if you would stop calling me because you no longer have any interest in Trump because 'he has no chance,' I'd go back to my business." Trump said that when he looks at the state of the Republican field at large there are some hopefuls who "should not be running any longer" because "they're not gonna make it."

"If I felt I was in that position, I'd get out," he told NBC News. "But in all fairness, I think I'm in the exact opposite position right now." NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polling has Trump at the top of the latest polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire.