Russian President Vladimir Putin last week encouraged the United States to look to Israel as an example of how terrorism should be fought.
Speaking at the Valdai International Discussion Club, Putin was critical of what he saw as America’s weak approach to combatting ISIS and other terror groups in the Middle East, an approach the Russian leader suggested had actually enabled the rise of such groups.
In particular, Putin said Washington’s politicized focus on civilian casualties – something Israel has had to contend with in its fight against Palestinian terror – was letting the terrorists get the upper hand.
“Let’s just leave everything as it is,” Putin sarcastically quipped. “Let’s leave Raqqa alone too. Our partners keep saying, ‘We need to take back Raqqa and eliminate the nest of terrorists there.’ But there are civilians in Raqqa. So, should we not fight the terrorists at all? And when they take hostages in towns, should we just leave them be?”
Putin said that Israel, which does go to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties, offers the only model for success.
“Israel never steps back, but always fights to the end, and this is how it survives,” noted Putin. “There is no alternative. We need to fight. If we keep retreating, we will always lose.”