I have been back at college for just over a week now and I can make the assumption that the general awareness level of young Americans of world events has not increased too much. Not many people seem too concerned about the real and present dangers that are plaguing our world today. With the exception of during classes(as a Political Science major I would hope people would know more world events) if I mention “ISIS” or any other types of news the responses are similar, they ask what I’m talking about or give a blank stare. Of course, this is to be expected when our Commander-In-Chief who promised “hope and change” spends his days on the golf course instead of in Washington meeting with his top advisors. The unfortunate truth is that the overall knowledge of world events by American youth is down, and I attribute much of that to the downplaying of these events by our leaders.
To counter most of the things that President Obama has said about ISIS, The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, they do pose a real and present danger. Just a few weeks ago the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey came out along with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to state that ISIS did pose a threat to the United States and the international community and they needed to be handled. Then a few days later, they both retracted their statements, claiming ISIS did not pose a threat to Americans. President Obama didn’t even have to deliberately say he believed that, he proved after the beheading and execution of American journalist James Foley. President Obama showed up to the press conference, without a tie, and gave a short speech. Afterwards, the President was spotted on the golf course yet again.
However, the President has stated that he does not believe ISIS poses a new significant threat to the United States. Apparently still sticking with his belief that ISIS is a “JV” team, President Obama announced the other day that the world is safer than it has been in the past “20, 25 and 30 years.” I couldn’t disagree more. Recent reports suggest that ISIS is planning attacks within the United States. We have every reason to believe that they will, and to be honest, it is safer we assume they are looking to attack us rather than act ignorant and pretend nothing can happen.
In order to see the threat that ISIS poses to the United States you only need to check the news for a few minutes. Al Qaeda and ISIS are currently in somewhat of a power struggle, each side trying to claim they are more of a force than the other. ISIS is winning, but intelligence suggests that they may launch an attack to prove that. Other reports have indicated that there are ISIS militants in Mexico waiting to come up through the Southern U.S. border to attack targets either on the border or within the United States. Others have suggested that ISIS militants are already inside the United States. Arizona Senator John McCain himself stated a few weeks ago that the government was tracking “100” ISIS militants within the United States at this time. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. It is only a matter of will people pay attention to what is going on in the world.
It is also important to note the number of Americans and Europeans who have gone to fight for ISIS. Many expect that number to be in the thousands. That is thousands of citizens that can come back to their home countries and either launch attacks or start a terror cell. That is another issue that must be addressed before the situation gets out of hand.
However, we need to also rely on our leaders to be truthful to us as well. It only causes problems when President Obama and his advisors go out and say that ISIS is not a threat, and that there is no reason to cause concern. Leaders around the world have actually said the exact opposite. British Prime Minister David Cameron just the other day raised the alert level in Britain to “orange” and stated that this is the biggest terrorist threat Great Britain has ever faced. The King of Saudi Arabia came out recently stating that he wouldn’t be surprised to see ISIS in “Europe in a month, American in another month.” The words of other world leaders can have just as much of a profound affect as the words of our own leaders. President Obama should be standing with our allies, including Britain and France, to make sure the world and the citizens of each nation are vigilant and aware of the threats that ISIS poses.
Recently, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul wrote an op-ed in which he argued that the interventionists’ policies of the current administration helped ISIS grow and I believe that is why the Obama administration is as silent as they are on the manner. The United States should not have armed the Syrian rebels; we should not have gotten involved in the conflict at all. Now ISIS is using American weapons in their battles in Iraq and Syria. Did we intend to strengthen them? Of course not. But unfortunately we did. The United States will now have to acknowledge that and try to correct that wrong.
The overall point is that ISIS is a tumor that has aggressively fought small doses of treatment and has now become a dangerous cancer. If it is not acknowledged and dealt with accordingly it can have horrendous effects on citizens and nations around the world. These people know no borders, and kill anyone who disagrees with them. The first step in combating terror is to acknowledge it exists and be vigilant. We need more Americans to pay attention to what is happening in the world today. This starts by our leaders, whether they have caused the problem or not, being transparent and acknowledging the problem exists. If they do not pay attention, nothing good can happen.