At the ongoing G-20 conference in Turkey, world leaders have assured a “vigorous response” to the Islamic State group's massacre in Paris. But beyond the tough talk and calls for action, there has resulted in very little, if any, “concrete” indication as to how these leaders intend to prosecute the assault on ISIS. As far as this author can see … nothing more than the usual, feckless, non-committal rhetoric.
Clearly, the Paris incident, combined with earlier attacks in Lebanon, Turkey and the downing of the Russian airliner in Egypt, suggest that ISIS is now expanding its reach well beyond its base in Iraq and Syria … as feared by the West, but done so in a framework of predominant denial as to any properly-measured, substantive action(s).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the summit host, pledged “leaders would produce a ‘strong message’ about fighting international terrorism” … but without any defined steps or plan of implementation.
Russia’s President Putin urged nations “to pool their efforts to combat terrorism” adding that “the fight must respect international law, the U.N. Charter and each nation's sovereign rights and interests through global efforts to confront the threat.”
European Union leader Donald Tusk called upon the G-20 leaders to “show ‘full determination’ against terrorism” and urged “cooperation to prevent terror financing”, but never mentioned how this is to be pragmatically accomplished. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “the response should be ‘robust’, but always within the rule of law”. Well - intended dreaming.
And finally, of course, U.S. President Barack Obama called the violence an "attack on the civilized world" … still refusing to call ISIS what it is … Islamic terrorism. He further stated that he “viewed the attacks in France as an act of war”, but by customary caveat, he cautioned that “he had no plans to overhaul his strategy for dismantling the Islamic State group and remains staunchly opposed to an American ground war in Syria”. This will certainly “degrade and destroy” terrorism, don’t you think ?
However, as France has in fact “declared war” on ISIS, a more immediate option open to the leaders is the possibility of France seeking direct assistance from its NATO allies by invoking Article 5 of the NATO Charter … “an attack on one (1) is an attack on all”. But as America no longer “leads”, this author awaits with great curiosity President Obama’s excuse for “dancing around” an obligation to pro-actively enjoin in any Article 5 undertaking.