With Americans reeling from the president’s “I don’t have a strategy yet” performance, it was heartening to see one leader make a forceful statement to the public explaining the threat the Islamic State. Unfortunately, it was not in America but in Great Britain.
Nile Gardiner, a longtime British journalist, former aide to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and head of the Thatcher Institute for Freedom, explained:
The contrast between Friday’s press conference in London by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Thursday’s White House remarks by President Obama could not have been starker.
Mr. Cameron delivered a robust assessment of the scale of the Islamist threat to Great Britain and to the free world.
He told journalists assembled at Downing Street that “what we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL (Islamic State) is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before.”
He made it clear that ISIS must not be allowed to establish an Islamist caliphate in Iraq. If they succeeded, “we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member.”
In announcing his government’s decision to raise the UK terrorism threat level to “severe,” the PM announced a series of measures to combat the Islamist threat within Britain itself, including tough new measures against British-born, self-styled “jihadists,” hundreds of whom have traveled to Iraq and Syria in recent months to fight with ISIS.
Listening to President Obama, you’d never know that the Islamic State poses a direct and serious threat to the U.S. and, more generally, to the West. Cameron, by contrast, was crystal-clear. Moreover, the president shies from referring to the ideological genesis of the problem, radical Islam. Cameron, however, pulled no punches: “This threat [ISIS] cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy. Nor can it be dealt with by addressing poverty, dictatorship, or instability in the region, as important as those are. The root cause of the threat to our security is quite clear. There is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faith and by all faith leaders. It believes in using the most brutal form of terrorism to force people to accept a warped world view and to live in an almost medieval state.”
In a world more chaotic, dangerous and violent than many thought possible after only 5½ years of the Obama presidency, the most responsible voices in the West come from two prime ministers, Cameron and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. We can only hope they motivate the administration to face up to reality. As Winston Churchill put it, these allies must “carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue . . . of the old.” For an impressive call to arms and world leadership, David Cameron deserves praise. Well done, Mr. Prime Minister.