Obama told Americans not to give into fear after the terrorist attacks in Paris, explaining that an overreaction would help ISIL in the long run. The call for calm contrasts dramatically with some of the GOP presidential candidates who have tried to keep Syrian immigrants from coming to the U.S., and even warning that another 9-11 was on its way.
Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, President Obama said the ISIL terrorists “cannot strike a mortal blow” to the U.S., according to the AP, but acting like the organization is a existential threat only elevates their status.
“We do not succumb to fear. The most powerful tool we have to fight ISIL is to say that we’re not afraid, to not elevate them, to somehow buy into their fantasy that they’re doing something important.”
President Obama will soon be travelling to Paris to attend the Climate Change Summit starting later this month on the 30th. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, officials have strengthened security and banned some demonstrations in preparation for the event, but it will go on as scheduled.
In his talk with reporters, the President urged delegations not to be scared away.
“I think it is absolutely vital for every country, every leader, to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business.”
So far, none of the over 130 heads of state scheduled to attend the Paris Summit have pulled out according to the Guardian.
Obama’s reassurances strike a very different tone from certain GOP candidates. Last week, Lindsey Graham said that there was another 9-11 coming to American shores, hoping that the Paris attacks would be a wake up call for the president to send ground troops into Syria.
The candidate told CNN, “We’d go in on the ground in Syria. We’d pull the caliphate up by the roots and we would take back land held by ISIL and hold it until Syria repairs itself.”
As for the Syrian refugees currently streaming out of the Middle East, he said the best thing we could do is create a safe haven in Syria with an invasion, not necessarily allowing them into the U.S.
The majority of GOP candidates agree that the refugees should be turned back. Donald Trump also supported making a safe haven in Syria, and Ben Carson wants to cut funding for resettling Syrian refugees in America. Likewise, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Mike Huckabee all called for measures to restrict Syrian refugees, according to Think Progress.
Initially, President Obama called the efforts to turn away Syrian refugees “un-American,” although his stance has softened. He is reportedly even considering a measure in the Senate that would end visa waivers for short-term visitors from Iraq and Syria.
Although the president seems to be bumping heads with conservatives, his rhetoric in Malaysia sounds similar to President George W. Bush after the 9-11 attacks. About five days after those attacks, he said the nation would not be terrorized.
“Our nation was horrified, but it’s not going to be terrorized. We’re a nation that can’t be cowed by evil-doers.”
Still, 9-11 ushered in major changes to travel and civil rights in the U.S. The comparison with President Bush wasn’t lost on Obama, who made the analogy with reporters in Kuala Lumpur. President Obama pointed out that America had survived mass civilian causalities before, but New York Times Square was still packed with tourists.
“I was very proud of the fact that the fundamental nature of America and how we treated each other did not change… We’ve made some bad decisions subsequent to that attack in part based on fear, and that’s why we have to be cautious.”
So far, President Obama is not planning to make any major change for his visit to Paris for the Climate Change summit.
[Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]