President Barack Obama has been disregarding critics who have been urging to adopt stronger and more aggressive measures to combat ISIS ahead of a Tuesday meeting with French President François Hollande. Following the Paris attacks, Obama and his top assistants have maintained their plan against the terrorist group. The president has stated that the Pentagon is working on a strategy to intensify the circulation of weapons and give more training to Iraqi forces so they can keep pace with ISIS fighters who have made recent gains, including taking the key city of Ramadi.
However, the president’s stance will be tested during his meeting with Hollande, who is aiming and working towards increased and improved international cooperation in defeating ISIS, the perpetrators behind the Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
Obama has received considerable criticism for saying that ISIS was “contained” the day before the attacks on Paris that killed 130 people. Aides emphasized he had been using the word to describe the organization’s control of territory, rather than suggesting the threat had been neutralized. Secretary of State John Kerry also supported the administration’s stance on Monday. He said that the US is devoted to increasing and enhancing its existing efforts to defeat ISIS while stressing that the group is not invincible. “I believe ISIS is going to be defeated. ISIS is not 10 feet tall,” he said on NBC’s Today show.
“There is a very clear focus by everybody, there is a united front, and I am absolutely convinced that Daesh will be defeated and there will be increased steps taken in order to do so,” he said, using another name for the group. Kerry is very certain, and his assessment came right after Obama once again voiced doubt about ISIS’s strength, which critics called another example of the president’s tendency to underestimate the threat it poses to the West.
“They’re a bunch of killers with good social media,” Obama said Sunday during a press conference in Malaysia. Obama did not deny that the group is “dangerous” and has “caused great hardship to people,” but he demonstrated complete conviction that the US and it allies would overcome and conquer them. “Our way of life is stronger. We have more to offer,” he said.
“I think we made some bad decisions subsequent to [9/11] in part based on fear, and that’s why we have to be cautious about it,” he said. “We have to think things through.” While emphasizing its vigilant and most cautious approach, the White House seeks to demonstrate to Hollande that the US is committed to increasing its efforts to defeat ISIS.
Obama has time and time again said the Russians have not proven they are committed in efforts to striking ISIS in Syria instead of rebels fighting Assad, a longtime Russian ally. “The question at this point is whether they can make the strategic adjustment that allows them to be effective partners with us and the other 65 countries who are already part of the counter-ISIL campaign,” Obama said Sunday, using his preferred acronym for the group. “We don’t know that yet.”