In a news conference at a G20 Summit in Turkey, President Obama resisted questions about having a stronger strategy to deal with ISIS by saying he won’t be pressured into being “tough.” Additionally, he restated America’s resolve to take in more refugees from Syria, the children and families suffering due to the war, “the most vulnerable,” he called them.
Finally, and maybe to his credit, he named the enemy: the “ideology” of terrorism, admitting that the West’s sophisticated weaponry of war is not the ultimate solution to ISIS. Thus, without a clear military strategy, he pronounced a pathway for peace that he admits will take time. Yet, devoid a practical plan to fight the battle on the ground, nor a willingness to secure the peace once attained, his pseudo-resolve lacks teeth.
Let’s ask this: If the President is reticent to pursue the ground battle against ISIS, then, since he is framing it as an ideological battle, shouldn’t he at least be a stronger advocate for a counter-ideology to win this war against terrorism? Unfortunately, his remarks fall flat of any message that would provide such counter ideological resolve from America.
At this particular moment in history, coming right after this unprovoked terror attack in France that has rallied the world community in support of freedom and against terrorism, President Obama could have used this momentum to galvanize freedom-loving people around the world to stand strongly for a powerful ideology of freedom. Instead, he comes across concerned about not making his response a mere political thing, thus making it a political thing. And forfeiting this opportunity to move the world closer to the direction of peace and freedom.
1. Watch his message to the G20:
2. Obama keeps it political
via NYTimes Mr. Obama grew especially animated in rebuffing suggestions by some Republican presidential candidates, governors and lawmakers that the United States should block entry of Syrian refugees to prevent terrorists from slipping into the country.
“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” Mr. Obama said. He added: “We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”
Mr. Obama sounded weary and defensive as he repeatedly rejected criticism of his yearlong strategy in Syria and Iraq to combat the Islamic State, also called ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.
He said large numbers of American troops on the ground would repeat what he sees as the mistake of the Iraq invasion of 2003 and would not help solve the terrorism problem around the globe.
“That would be a mistake, not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before,” Mr. Obama said. Victory over terrorist groups, he said, requires local populations to push back “unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.”
He said he would not be pressured into “posing” as a tough president by doing things that will not make the situation better to satisfy his critics. “Some of them seem to think that if I was just more bellicose in expressing what we’re doing, that that would make a difference,” he said. “Because that seems to be the only thing that they’re doing, is talking as if they’re tough.” via NYTimes
3. Netanyahu responds forthrightly
4. Reporter aghast at Obama’s lame response