STRAIGHT TALK: Our futures depend upon strong leadership

Steve Stefanides

When I arrived at a friend’s home Friday evening to have dinner, she inquired whether I had been aware of the breaking story out of Paris about what appeared to be some type of terrorist attack. As it turned out, I had not seen or heard the news that rightfully occupied our undivided interest the remainder of the evening.

Paris is a city known most for its museums, exquisite food, fine wines and romance, rather than for anything close to the horrific scenes being played out 4,700 miles away.

The look on the face of the president of France being advised of the terrible carnage was similar to that of the expression on our own president’s face when he was advised of the attacks on New York City in 2001. Both men held their emotions inside as they began to ponder how they would respond to these cowardly acts of hate against innocent citizens within their respective nations.

The evaluation of the intelligence surrounding who had been the perpetrators in these heinous acts against innocent civilians continues, as the governments of western states furiously work to piece together the details and review every lead.

Our president’s pronouncement that “this is an act against all people,” simply doesn’t go far enough. This is one of many acts aimed at destroying the foundations and the pillars of western civilization, while dragging the world back into the Dark Ages, and it all began in earnest with the terrible loss of life on 9-11 in New York City.

It would be easy to simply slip into the age-old blame game. That will accomplish nothing but embolden barbarians as they watch us engage in senseless political quibbling, instead of striking fear in their hearts by concerted action to eliminate this threat against humanity.

We need to once and for all recalibrate and refocus our energies on the goal of eliminating the ISIS threat in both Syria and Iraq. They have brought their brand of brutality, murder and mayhem to our neighborhoods. They have slaughtered all too many men, women and children in an effort to destroy our basic beliefs and cultures in which we encourage tolerance, freedom and equality of all men and women. Unfortunately, these are not qualities they embrace.

The barbarians are no longer at the gates, they are now inside the walls and we must act to exterminate this dogma of hate and intolerance from their sanctuaries.


The situation in Syria has been in a freefall for too long. We now must deal with the insertion of a revitalized Russian presence in the region, as they come to the aid of its sole faltering ally in the area, while increasing the tension between ourselves and the emerging Russian intervention.

We can never allow ISIS to establish a ruling government in any state, whether it be in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan or any other location; the fate of western civilization depends upon it.

As the leader of the free world, the United States must reassure its allies in this volatile region that we do have a plan; that we have the courage and determination to stand with them and support them in their time of need. Saudi Arabia and the entire Arabian Peninsula must know that they have a strong partner in our alliance.

We must also assure Israel that their existence as a free and independent state is a primary pillar in that plan and that we will stand by them, as we have since being the first nation to recognize their declared statehood in May 1948. That assurance can only come from strong leadership and a willingness to take the necessary actions to ensure this scourge on humanity is summarily and definitively eliminated – not merely contained.

A return to normalcy in both Europe and the United States will not come before we have eradicated this threat to our way of life, and bring the world back to a place of normalcy where individual rights and freedoms are not threatened.