Speaking from the White House Briefing room on Thursday, President Obama touched on a whole host of foreign challenges facing the nation.
Most significantly, perhaps, he noted that Secretary of State John Kerry will soon be heading to the Middle East to “build a coalition” to help meet the growing threat of ISIL.
“I am confident that we can and we will,” he intoned.
He also noted that he had asked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel -- and his joint chiefs of staff -- to furnish him with “a range of options” to finally deal with these violent and bloodthirsty terrorists.
“Clearly ISIL had come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively,” he said.
He also mentioned that he had been in communication with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about the unrest in eastern Ukraine.
“We are, if there was any doubt, convinced that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine,” he said. “Russia has deliberately and repeatedly [threatened] the territorial integrity" of that country.
“Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War,” he continued. “This ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more consequences for Russia.”
Turning to Syria, he proclaimed that “Assad’s lost [all] legitimacy” -- and that the US will strive, with our allies, to give the moderate Sunni population a political choice other than ISIL or the regime.
Other highlights: He refused to call Russia’s most recent incursion into Ukraine an invasion, defended his right to unilaterally order airstrikes into Iraq -- and Syria -- if necessary, and claimed the White House doesn’t have "a strategy” yet to effectively combat ISIL.
President Obama will meet with his national security team later today.
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