News & Politics

Hollande to Press Obama for Greater U.S. Involvement in Anti-ISIS Coalition

French President François Hollande during a press briefing on Climate Change at UN Headquarters in New York City, NY, USA on September 27, 2015. Photo by Dennis Van Tine/Sipa USA

Via the New York Times:

President François Hollande of France heads to Washington on Tuesday as a self-described wartime president, with his political future at stake.

France is pressing hard for its allies and friends to step up their efforts against the Islamic State, so Mr. Hollande has been on an extraordinary global tour this week to win them over. He met here Monday morning with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, who promised to press the British Parliament to approve military action in Syria.

After seeing President Obama on Tuesday, Mr. Hollande will be off to Moscow. By Sunday evening he will also have met with the German, Italian, Canadian and Chinese leaders, plus the European Union president, Donald Tusk, and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

Mr. Hollande is counting on the new reach of the jihadists abroad — massacring 130 civilians in Paris and taking responsibility for bringing down a Russian airliner full of civilians over Egypt — to change assumptions in Washington, Moscow and London and prompt a serious military effort to take down the self-styled caliphate. He is calling on Washington and Moscow to “unite our forces” in a “wide and single” international coalition against the Islamic State.

Even to the casual observer of global politics and terrorism, it has to be obvious that all things ISIS are getting out of hand. Hollande has been swift to respond, doing more in the first five days after the attacks than many world leaders could in five months by escalating the bombing of Raqqa and finding and killing the mastermind of the Paris killings.

While no one is eager to go to war, it is perfectly acceptable to question whether the bombing campaigns are really doing any long-term good.

It would seem not.

The French president probably won’t find Obama excited to help, however. Not with military options, anyway. He will most likely promise Hollande to do what he usually does: talk.

But Mr. Obama has been deeply reluctant to get the American military more involved with the Syrian mess, choosing instead to protect the Kurds and bomb the Islamic State intermittently. With France now so forward-leaning, Mr. Obama is expected to give Mr. Hollande fervent rhetorical support

You hear that ISIS?

The rhetoric is coming to get you.