Friday, September 26, 2014

Obama Leads on ISIS: He Is Right to Take The Risk

A President Awakens

Roger Cohen, NYT
SEPT. 25, 2014

President Obama, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, presented a powerful picture of a world at the cusp, torn between forces of integration and disintegration, woven together by the very technology also used to deliver images of medieval beheadings, full of a “pervasive unease” despite material and scientific progress, obliged at the centennial of the outbreak of World War I to look again “into the heart of darkness.”

It was a strong speech from a president stirred from the wavering idioms of a season of uncertainty by the sudden advance out of the carnage of Syria of the organization that calls itself the Islamic State. “The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force,” Obama said. He vowed to dismantle “this network of death” through military action and turning social media against the ISIS propagandists that use it to such effect.

On the same day, a French mountain guide, Hervé Gourdel, was beheaded in Algeria by a jihadi group that pledged allegiance this month to ISIS. Whether the president’s words or such potent images of savagery have greater global impact is an open question that points to the difficulties of the mission outlined by Obama and the giddying nature of a post-hierarchical world.

(More here.)

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