In the wake of the night of terror in Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt more world leaders seem to be genuinely determined to fight ISIL, the terrorist group behind the attacks. Barack Obama, argues journalist Charles Krauthammer, is not among them since his priorities apparently lie elsewhere.
Look at how the French and US presidents reacted to the Paris tragedy. Whereas “François Hollande has responded furiously to his country’s 9/11,” Obama showed “weariness and annoyance,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist noted in an opinion piece titled “Obama’s phony war.”
Obama’s “news conference in Turkey was marked by a stunning tone of passivity, detachment and lassitude, compounded by impatience and irritability at the very suggestion that his Syria strategy might be failing,” Krauthammer added.
The US president appeared to be willing to degrade and ultimately destroy the brutal group last year when the siege of Sinjar and the plight of the Yazidis shed light on how brutal ISIL truly was. These days, according to the journalist, Obama lacks passion and is essentially leading a “phony” coalition.
“The air campaign over Syria averages seven strikes a day. Seven. In Operation Desert Storm, we flew 1,100 sorties a day. Even in the Kosovo campaign, we averaged 138. Obama is doing just enough in Syria to give the appearance of motion, yet not nearly enough to have any chance of success,” he lamented, blaming the US president for “an absence of passion, of urgency and of commitment to the fight.”
For his part, Hollande is making every effort to create a real coalition capable of taking on ISIL. Unlike Spain, France has become even more resolved to bring peace to war-torn Syria. In 2004, al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists set off bombs on several trains in Madrid, leaving 191 people dead and more than 1,800 injured. Spain withdrew its forces from Iraq following the attacks.
The United States does not seem to be taking visible part in Hollande’s efforts – at least for now. Neither is Washington truly leading the war on terror in Syria in what is a stark contrast to Obama’s predecessors.
“For 11 post-World War II presidencies, coalition leading has been the role of the United States. Where is America today? Awaiting a president. The next president,” Krauthammer observed.