‘United Europe Vital to Confront Terror’
US to send 250 additional special forces personnel to Syria
President Barack Obama said on Monday that collective action was the only way to confront myriad challenges facing Europe, arguing that continental unity is vital to address the threat of terrorism, upheaval in the Middle East and a migrant crisis. “If a unified peaceful, liberal, pluralistic, free-market Europe begins to doubt itself, begins to question the progress that’s been made over the last several decades, then we can’t expect the progress that’s just now taking hold in many places around the world will continue,” Obama said in a speech at a trade fair in Hanover, Germany. “Instead we will be empowering those whoarguethatdemocracycan’twork.”
The speech was the bookend for a visit to Europe that saw Obama attempt to bolster longtime political allies facing tough domestic debates over national unity. In the UK, Obama waded into an increasingly bitter referendum on whether to leave the European Union, urging voters to remain part of the group. In Germany, where chancellor Angela Merkel has come under political strain after about1 million refugees entered the country last year, Obama praised her leadership and morality. On Monday, the president said the EuropeanUnionwasoneofthegreatest economic and political achievements in history. “The United States and the entire world needs a strong and prosperous and democratic and united Europe,” Obama said. “And perhaps you need an outsider, somebody who’s not a European, to remind you of the magnitudeofwhatyouhaveachieved.”
Obama used the speech to announce hewouldsend250additionalUSspecial forces personnel to Syria to augment the fight against Islamic State militants, and said he hoped other allies would increase their commitments to the conflict as the group loses territory.
VIRTUAL REALITY Obama tests VR goggles as German chancellor Angela Merkel looks on — AP