Obama: We are all French now
- The changing dynamic between the two old allies reflects the impact of 14 long years of war that has left America weary of foreign intervention.
- Obama administration officials said the President will tout newly bolstered intelligence-sharing between the United States and France.
Washington (CNN)It might be America's oldest alliance, but it has rarely looked more vibrant.French President François Hollande and U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to intensify their nations' military attacks on ISIS in Syria and Iraq at a White House meeting lent urgency and deep symbolic significance by the terrorist attacks on Paris 10 days ago that opened a new phase of the war on terror.Even before the attacks, France, as the only European nation joining the United States in striking ISIS in Syria, and after several anti-terror operations in Africa in which the two nations cooperated, had emerged as the closest U.S. transatlantic military ally.And the solidarity on show between Obama and Hollande during an hour-long press conference in the East Room of the White House made clear that the U.S.-France diplomatic relationship is tighter than ever -- even if Obama doesn't plan to greatly change his strategy or work with Russia to battle the terror group, as France has called for, unless Russia confines its attacks to ISIS.Despite some divergence in the two leaders' ideas for how best to battle ISIS, Tuesday's press conference seemed to be a deliberate show of unity and exchange of rhetorical support between the presidents at a time of international disruption and global terror.
Obama spoke in unusually personal and emotive terms directly to the French people about his own memories of spending time in France as he argued that the ISIS shootings and bombings on cafes, a soccer stadium and a concert hall in Paris were by extension an attack on the world itself."We love France for your spirit and your culture and your joie de vivre. Since the attacks, Americans have recalled their own visits to Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower or walking along the Seine. We know these places. They're part of our memories, woven into the fabric of our lives and our culture," Obama said.The President said that upstairs in the White House residence, he had a photo of first lady Michelle Obama and himself kissing in the French capital's Luxembourg Gardens.