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Barack Obama David Cameron Iraq ISIS Russia / Ukraine Conflict Syria Ukraine

The Times commentary

4 Sep, 2014

Obama and Cameron write in a commentary for The Times that global security is under threat from Russia’s unilateral actions in the Crimea and Ukraine and the ability of groups like ISIS to develop state-like powers:

The growth of technology and globalisation, for all its great benefits and opportunities, has put power once reserved for States in the hands of the individual, raising the capacity of terrorists to do harm. The utterly despicable murders of two American journalists by ISIL are but the latest evidence of a brutal and poisonous extremism that murders indiscriminately and risks exporting terrorism abroa.

Isolationism has no place in the global era:

Of course there are some who say that we shouldn’t get involved in addressing these threats, that in Britain and America we have done our bit for the world and we should leave today’s problems for others to sort out. … First, those who believe in stepping back and adopting an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century. Developments in other parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria threaten our security at home.

They say NATO can adapt to the new global security environment, and renew calls for a rapid response force to tackle the Russian aggression and for member nations to commit to spending 2% of GDP on defense. Military, economic and political force must all be utilized:

We know that terrorist organisations thrive where there is political instability and weak or dysfunctional political institutions. So we must invest in the building blocks of free and open societies, including the creation of a new genuinely inclusive Government in Iraq that can unite all Iraqis, including Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian and other minority populations. When the threats to our security increasingly emanate from outside the borders of our Alliance, we must do more to build partnerships with others around the globe who share our values and want to build a safe, tolerant and peaceful world – that includes supporting the partners who are taking the fight to ISIL on the ground, as we have done by stepping up support for Kurdish and Iraqi Security Forces. And we should use our expertise to provide training and mentoring to forces elsewhere, whether in Georgia or the Middle East, strengthening the capacity of forces there to tackle local threats.

The U.S. and UK will continue to lead the alliance:

… It is only by supporting peace, democracy and human rights around the globe that we will keep British and American families safe today.