Evoking history and appealing for solidarity, President Barack Obama on Monday cast his decision to send 250 more troops to Syria as a bid to keep up “momentum” in the campaign to dislodge Islamic State extremists. He pressed European allies to match the U.S. with new contributions of their own.
Obama’s announcement of the American troops, which capped a six-day tour to the Middle East and Europe, reflected a steady deepening of U.S. military engagement, despite the president’s professed reluctance to dive further into another Middle East conflict. As Obama gave notice of the move, he said he wanted the U.S. to share the increasing burden.
Obama discussed the IS fight with British Prime Minster David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi.
The president formally announced the new troop deployment in a speech about European unity and trans-Atlantic cooperation – a running theme of his trip. Speaking in Germany, he evoked the continent’s history of banding together to defeat prejudice and emerge from the “ruins of the Second World War.”