The approach being taken against the Islamic State (ISIS) is far different than other actions taken in the Middle East in recent years, deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken emphasized Sunday, as this time around the United States is working with a coalition of Arab states.
"It's not tens of thousands of American ground forces and not trillions of American dollars," Blinken told CBS "Face the Nation"
host Bob Schieffer Sunday.
Instead, this time the United States is assisting local forces and getting a broad coalition together, "and not falling into the al-Qaida trap of putting tens of thousands of Americans on the ground to be bogged down and bled."
Blinken, making the rounds on Sunday's news programming with appearances on CBS, CNN and Fox News, told Schieffer that the coalition formed by the Obama administration includes planes from five Arab countries that are flying on airstrike missions over Syria, and "50 countries are now part of this effort."
And the fight is more than just the situation on the ground, but is a multifaceted campaign.
"We are trying to stop the flow of foreign fighters and stop the financing, but it is a comprehensive campaign and has a broad coalition," said Blinken. "It will take time but we have the pieces in place to do it."
Blinken noted that while Congress has supported the administration's plan to train and equip troops in Iraq and Syria, "that support can manifest in different ways, including an authorization to use force."
The president does not require congressional authorization, claimed Blinken, as "we have the authorization from 2001 that is a basis for proceeding, but we welcome Congress showing support."
Blinken told CNN "State of the Union"
host Candy Crowley, meanwhile, that there are no "credible, active plots we're aware of" when it comes to ISIS activities in the United States.
However, "it's important for people to be vigilant, to have a heightened awareness and communicate with law enforcement if they see anything suspicious. That's a critical tool to ensure we can protect ourselves ... it's very important as we take action around the world including in Iraq and Syria that people are aware and focused."
It's also important that the United States gets ahead of the problem, said Blinken.
"ISIL presents an immediate threat to people in the region, including to Americans in the region," he said. "It's been very clear that over time if it's left unchecked, it will present a threat here at home and to our partners in Europe. So we need to get ahead of it."
But the fight is not the United States' alone against ISIS, he told Crowley.
"This is the international community against a threat that is posed in the first and foremost to countries in the region, but represents a threat to everyone," said Blinken.
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