President Obama chafed as reporters questioned him repeatedly about America’s strategy to counter the Islamic State, in his first expansive remarks after the Paris attacks.
Speaking after the G20 summit in Turkey, Obama was asked whether he had underestimated the Islamic State, if the post-attack calls for more troops would alter his thinking on Syria, and if the violence in Paris had proven that success against Islamic State forces had been elusive.
In the president’s view, the answer to all these queries is ‘no.’ Instead, he reiterated that what happened in Paris would not lead to a shift in American policy or a scaling up of forces in Syria.
It is not just my view but the view of my closest military and civilian advisers that that would be a mistake because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface, unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.
He also chastised his critics for offering no alternatives and “talking as if they’re tough” in suggesting that the United States offer up more troops to fight.