“In an era of globalized threats that can come from anywhere, we need a global coalition before the threats land on our shores.”
A month after President Trump made the controversial decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a resolution to reaffirm their support for U.S. allies and partners in the fight against ISIS.
Slotkin was joined by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Will Hurd (R-TX), and Don Bacon (R-NE) in sponsoring the resolution.
The resolution recognizes the commitment and crucial contributions of the United States’ coalition partners in the fight against ISIS and also recognizes that strong alliances require years to develop and may fall apart in times of crisis if neglected.
Speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday, Slotkin said the resolution was intended to show gratitude and support to America’s Counter-ISIS coalition partners and reaffirm America’s commitment to global partnerships, a commitment she acknowledged was in question following President Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
“Our allies and partners are rightfully questioning the future of this coalition. The president surprised these nations, all 60 of them, with the pullout. Many of our partners found out about the pullout in which they are involved via tweet and via the media,” Slotkin said.
Slotkin hopes the resolution will help show America is still committed to its alliances and partnerships.
The resolution is particularly personal for Slotkin, a former CIA officer who served three tours in Iraq, served as a senior Pentagon official, and helped form the global counter-ISIS coalition in 2014. As an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense, Slotkin also established and held regular counter-ISIS coalition defense policy coordination meetings.
Slotkin made sure to use her platform to point out how crucial the coalition’s work has been in fighting ISIS.
“Take yourself back five years, ISIS had taken over wide swaths of Iraq and Syria. They had huge amounts of territory. They were systematically slaughtering the opposition. They were targeting ethnic groups, they were targeting Christians, they were targeting Yazidis, they were systematically raping women,” Slotkin said.
ISIS was also charging taxes, extorting people, and projecting violence and threats across the world, Slotkin said. The Counter-ISIS coalition changed that, and not only did it substantially weaken the terrorist group, but did so while protecting American lives.
“For every airman, or marine, or soldier, or Navy sailor from the UK or Spain or France or Norway that comes to contribute to the fight that is one fewer soldier, airman, marine, and a naval officer that needs to come from the United States,” Slotkin said.
Slotkin introduced the resolution against the backdrop of a Counter-ISIS coalition meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss the future of the Counter-ISIS mission.
Regardless of what that future looks like, Slotkin was clear that she believes in the importance of facing that future together with America’s partners, and not alone.
“Working in coalition keeps the American homeland safer than it would simply if it was up to us to defend,” Slotkin said on the House floor. “In an era of globalized threats that can come from anywhere, we need a global coalition before the threats land on our shores.”