The United States under Barack Obama cannot manage its own southern border. But President Obama will host a meeting in New York later this month (feel the urgency!) that will center on a proposal to make it more difficult for radicalized Muslims to travel to Syria and Iraq from the West to join up with the Islamic State.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Obama is not exactly convening a new meeting. Obama will use the United Nations’ General Assembly Meeting later in September to pitch the plan. Ahead of that, the administration is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to drum up support.
The UN meeting is September 25, three weeks from now. The Islamic State is known to be holding a number of hostages, including a Briton that IS says will be the next beheading victim. IS has beheaded two American journalists in the past two weeks.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has already elevated the threat level in his country to “severe” because of the Islamic State’s rise. The Obama administration continues to dribble out happy talk that there is no credible evidence of a threat from IS on the American homeland, despite a report that they are operating in Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas and are planning a strike.
The goal of the September 25 meeting for the Obama administration: a United Nations resolution on the subject of foreign fighters joining IS.
The travel of Americans and Europeans to join IS is undoubtedly a serious problem. An estimated 140 Americans are fighting for IS, and a few thousand Europeans are believed to have joined IS as well. But at this point, a resolution on foreign travel to join IS is a rearguard action. It is also unlikely to address the flow of fighters to IS from across the Middle East, Chechnya, and Africa — even if it is effective in stopping Americans and Europeans. Given the porous borders and the numerous dual citizens holding multiple passports in the United States and Europe, it’s difficult even to predict how effective any UN resolution can be.