France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande declared on Friday that he will leave no stone unturned in his country’s response to Islamic State’s massacre of 130 people in Paris. Are Hollande and his European allies serious about the business of eliminating the jihadist movement? “To all of you, I solemnly promise that France will do everything to destroy the army of fanatics that committed these crimes,” Hollande said at a memorial to the victims attended by some of the wounded along with family members.
Hollande’s stated aim: to destroy “the army of fanatics.” His rhetoric suggests a new form of hawkish socialist anti-jihadism.
While Hollande made a whirlwind tour to enlist support from the Americans and the Russians to mount a broad-based coalition against Islamic State, he still is fighting with one arm behind his back.
“France will not intervene militarily on the ground,” said the French president on Tuesday in Washington.
Scores of military experts believe ground troops are a sine qua non of winning the war against Islamic State in the Syrian and Iraqi theaters.
Europe, parts of which still suffer from high-intensity Bush Derangement Syndrome, could find some wisdom in a core feature of George W. Bush’s foreign policy doctrine, namely, “Take the fight to the enemy overseas before they can attack us again here at home.”
To be fair, Hollande has launched an air campaign against Islamic State targets. His government plans to increase the military budget by 600 million euros.
Hollande, however, has not seized the opportunity to mobilize his army, the largest in Western Europe.
The New York Times reported Friday on an unprecedented surge in French military enlistment after the November 13 Paris attacks.
Col. Eric de Lapresle, a spokesman for the French Army, said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. People are coming in and contacting us in droves through social media, using words like liberty, defense and the fight against terrorism.”
It is odd that at precisely the moment France has the kind of revolutionary discipline among its citizens to knock out the jihadists, Hollande rapidly retreats.
One can understand Hollande’s frustration. He turned to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration on Wednesday for military help. “Knowing the rules that exist in Germany in terms of external intervention, if Germany can go further, it would be a very good signal in the fight against terrorism,” said Hollande.
Germany issued a soggy expression of solidarity. The economic engine of Europe will provide a frigate and Tornado surveillance planes and might offer airborne refueling.
Read more: jpost.com