Barack Obama does not believe the Islamic State is a threat to the United States.
"What I do insist on is we maintain a proper perspective and that we do not provide a victory to these terrorist networks by overinflating their importance and suggesting in some fashion that they are an existential threat to the United States and world order," Obama said.
The president has been under intense scrutiny for how he has handled the Islamic State. His downplaying of their threat to national security, calling them a "JV squad" has provider fodder for Obama’s critics. In his interview with Fareed Zakaria, the president offered a line of thinking that could not be any more different than that of his predecessor.
"It means we don't approach this with strategy of sending out armies and playing Whac-a-Mole wherever a terrorist appears," Obama said. "It drains our economic strength and puts
enormous burdens on our military. What's required is a surgical, precise response to a very specific problem."
Obama did not specify what that surgical, precise response was, exactly. By contrast, President George W. Bush sounded a stronger, more defiant tone when speaking of terrorist
"Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated," Bush said to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2011.