President Obama vows to step up airstrikes
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande vowed Tuesday to step up airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists. During a meeting at the White House, they also agreed to improve sharing of intelligence about the group. And in a press conference, they said they would like an anti-IS alliance with Russia – but only if that country’s leader, Vladimir Putin, stops supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Americans have come to expect that such nonsense from Obama. But the French, still mourning 129 victims of the terrorist massacre in Paris, should demand a more realistic strategy from their president.
It is true the few airstrikes against IS targets by U.S. warplanes have done substantial damage to the terrorists’ logistical network. And raids by the French in reaction to the Paris killings have hurt, too.
But air power will not destroy the IS or, for that matter, dozens of other vicious terrorist organizations including al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Boko Haram in Nigeria. And better sharing of intelligence – one wonders why that did not occur years ago -may help in a defensive way, but will not eliminate the terrorists without follow-up force.
That will have to be “boots on the ground” – if not French or American, troops from other nations.
While Obama continues to insist Putin is a mere “outlier” in the battle against terrorists, the Russian leader at least understands reality. His air power, being used in Syria, is made more effective because it supports Assad’s ground troops.
Obama in fact opened Afghanistan to an al-Qaida resurgence by pulling U.S. troops out too quickly. He gave the IS an opening in Iraq the same way.
The Obama-Hollande plan might work against a “jay-vee” team, as Obama once labeled the IS – but it cannot succeed against the reality of the terrorist army.