When President Barack Obama took “certain actions off the table” in his speech about how the U.S. plans to combat the Islamic State (ISIS), he also made it clear why our coalition partners are hesitant to join the effort, Sen. Ron Johnson tells Newsmax TV.
“I don’t believe this president or this administration is being as forthright as they need to be,” Johnson told J.D. Hayworth on “America’s Forum” Tuesday.
“Just look at President Obama’s speech,” he explained. “He laid out the goal — degrade and ultimately destroy.”
“At the tail end of his speech he said our safety and our security depends on our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation,” said the Wisconsin Republican, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
However, “early in his speech, as he took certain actions off the table — what he really meant at the very end was ‘do what it takes up to a point,’ which is quite honestly not showing the kind of commitment to the goal that he himself set.”
The problem, according to Johnson is that it’s “one of the reasons we’re having a hard time assembling our coalition partners.”
“If they don’t think the leader is really fully committed to the goal of ultimate destruction, you can see why Turkey might be a little hesitant when they know that ISIS holds” 40 Turkish diplomats, which are allegedly “next in line for beheadings,” he explained.
“If we’re going to assemble a coalition, they need to understand — all those potential coalition partners — have to realize that we are fully committed to success, victory and achievement of that goal,” he said.
“If you’re going to destroy an enemy, you don’t start taking certain options off the table,” the Wisconsin senator explained.
“You have to make sure that our coalition partners fully understand what it is we are going to do,” he said.
“We need operational security, but what we really need out of this administration right now is a clear articulation of what that goal is and 100 percent commitment to achieve that goal,” he added.
“And we don’t have that yet.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss the Obama’s plan for battling ISIS.
Johnson said that Congress “should authorize the use of force, but we need more information.”
The senator says that he hopes that today’s hearing will result in the gathering of that much needed “information.”
“This is a real clear and present danger that we need to address,” he said.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that while Obama said that he will not send ground forces into Iraq and Syria to combat ISIS, that if Dempsey believes they are needed, he “would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of ground forces.”