President Obama's Speech On The Paris Attacks & ISIS Was Thoughtful & Cool-Headed
On Monday morning, President Obama addressed the Paris attacks at the G20 Summit in Belek, Turkey. After a day of meeting with other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama attended a press conference to reiterate the U.S.'s strategy to combat ISIS, as well as its plan for dealing with Syrian refugees on a humanitarian level. As always, Obama remains firm in his determination to destroy the terror organization and in his dedication to help those who are fleeing.
As he has said many times before, but perhaps never with more conviction than now, Obama firmly denounced ISIS, using a variation of the group's name:
We are united against this threat. ISIL is the face of evil. Our goal is to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terror organization.
While his address was pegged to the Paris attacks, the overall theme of his speech was to illustrate the broad scope of the issue, which ultimately goes much further than France. "Tragically, Paris is not alone," Obama told the crowd of reporters. ISIS is leveling violence throughout the Middle East on a regular basis, and to that end, any effective strategy to combat them requires going to the source. Obama emphasized the U.S.'s ongoing plan, which has utilized military, intelligence, and economic tactics to weaken the terror organization.
He also reiterated the progress the international coalition has made against ISIS, saying, "We're taking out ISIL leaders, their commanders." Specifically, Obama mentioned the presumed killing of Jihadi John, who has been a spokesperson for the group. Beyond specific individuals, Obama said, the coalition's campaigns have also pushed the group back from where they previously had strongholds.
Another crucial component to this issue, however, is the refugee crisis stemming from Syria. As a preface to his strategy, Obama made the important reminder that "many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves." He then restated that the U.S. and other countries must step up to help the refugees because "countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan ... can't do it alone." Using rigorous screening processes and other safety measures, "our nations can welcome refugees ... and ensure our own safety."
During the Q&A portion of the conference, Obama became defensive when several reporters questioned his strategy and the amount of actual progress it's made. Obama responded by explaining he's not going to be "bellicose" just for the sake of seeming tough, while making a subtle dig at Donald Trump:
What I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or American wining, or whatever other slogans they come up with, that has no relations to what is actually going to work to protect the American people ... I'm too busy for that.