The terror attacks in Paris have altered the presidential campaign here. The candidates heightening their focus on national Security. Candidate Chris Christie has notified President Obama that he intends to close the state’s borders to refugees. He spent the weekend asserting Obama’s fight against ISIS is “misguided.” Joining us is Senator Foreign Relations committee member United States Senator Robert Menendez. He spoke with NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams about the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
Williams: The president has said that much of the response after Sept. 11 was based on fear. He’s trying to be more measured, and that’s opened him to some criticism. Do you think the country’s response to ISIS is appropriate?
Menendez: Well I think we need a more robust engagement on ISIL. I think we need a community of nations committed to a coalition of action. We have a coalition, but many of those nations are participating in such a way that they’re not creating actionable efforts against ISIL. I don’t believe this is an effort to contain ISIL. I think there should be an effort to destroy them.
Williams: Boots on the ground versus air strikes?
Menendez: You’re going to need, at some point, and it doesn’t have to be U.S. troops, but you’re going to need at some point some ground effort because if all you do is strike from the air you cannot take grounds just from striking from the air.
Williams: Is the idea to take ground away?
Menendez: It is ultimately to constantly squeeze, what they call as the pseudo-Caliphate and at the end of the day ensure that they did not have territory for which they already have vast resources to command and control to generate attacks, not only in that region, but in other parts of the world. This is where the community of nations, particularly those nations within the region who have an immediate challenge, have to participate in a more vigorous way. When I see Kurdish fighters succeeding as they are, seems to me that we should be arming them directly versus going through Iraq to arm them and what not. They have been successful at reclaiming territory.