President Barack Obama arrived on the White House South Lawn after his fund-raising trip on Friday.
Islamic State militants making gains in Iraq and Syria, raising fears of terror attacks in the west. A tense truce between Israel and Hamas after weeks of bloodshed. Russian forces entering Ukraine in a throwback to the Cold War.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that the world’s challenges can seem “pretty frightening” to Americans. But he argued that they pose no greater threat than in previous decades — it’s just that social media makes the dangers seem closer to home.
SEE ALSO: Obama on Islamic State in Syria: ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy Yet’
“The world has always been messy,” Obama said, speaking at a barbecue for Democratic donors in Purchase, New York. “In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.”
“I can see why a lot of folks are troubled,” Obama said. But he promised that a combination of American values, diplomatic efforts, anti-terror capabilities and military might were sufficient. “This is something we can handle,” he said.
However, the president’s remarks came one day after he acknowledged at a press conference that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to face Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) radicals in Syria.
Despite the threats on multiple fronts, Obama made the case that Americans were safer now than they were in past conflicts. “This is not something that is comparable to the challenges we faced during the Cold War,” he said. “This is not something that is comparable to the challenges we faced during the Cold War,” he said.
Yet the UK raised its terrorism threat level from “substantial” to “severe” on Friday, as Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the Islamic State posed a “greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before.”
In a blistering editorial published Friday, the Washington Post editorial board questioned Obama’s leadership amid the crises. “The president’s goal, to the extent he had one, seemed to be to tamp down all the assessments of gathering dangers,” it wrote. “It’s time Mr. Obama started emphasizing what the United States can do instead of what it cannot.”
Meanwhile, Obama appeared eager to change the subject away from foreign policy, beginning his remarks at the Thursday press conference and the Friday dinner with a discussion about the economy.