OTR Interviews

Obama and Cameron: Opposites in leadership against ISIS

'On the Record' dissects the differences in the ways President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron respond to the threat of ISIS


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 17, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: As President Obama faces growing criticism over his handling of terror, it's a different story in Britain.

British Prime Minister David Cameron being praised for vowing to defeat terrorism and, quote, "The poisonous ideology that fuels it."

Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, Nile Gardiner, goes ON THE RECORD.

Nile, your thoughts about -- compare and contrast the different approaches, Prime Minister David Cameron's approach to ISIS and what's going on in France and our president, the president of the United States, President Obama?


Certainly across the Atlantic and London, David Cameron has offered very strong powerful leadership in the face of the ISIS threat. He made an emphatic statement this weekend calling for the defeat of ISIS. He talked about the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism and the wider war against Islamist terrorism.

Also, earlier today, before the House of Commons, David Cameron spoke about increasing Britain's defensive capability, hiring 1900 new spies, Britain's Intelligence services. He talked about expanding Britain's Navy and Armed Forces.

This is the kind of response that we need to be seeing in the face of the ISIS threat, in marked contrast to the very lackluster, rather embarrassing approach taken by President Obama and the White House.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is Prime Minister Cameron, though, able to get the support of his government. You know, I mean, in the past, I think that he has not been able -- been successful in getting support when he wanted to do more in Syria.

GARDINER: Yes. That's a very good point. And, actually, David Cameron will be going before the House of Commons in December to make the case for British military action in Syria against ISIS. He is expected to win this vote in the wake of the Paris attacks.

And I think the many members of the Labor Party, the opposition, socialist party, will actually back the prime minister. Although, the labor leader Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to British military action in Syria. But I think the prime minister will actually win this vote.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did Prime Minister Cameron go to Paris? What was he seeking to do today?

GARDINER: Well, today's visit by the prime minister to Paris was a, I think, in order to send a message of solidarity with the French people, to let them know that Great Britain stands with France in the wake of this terrible tragedy in Paris, in the wake of these brutal, barbaric Islamist killings in France.

And I think that's a very important message to be sending. And the mood has to set, there is far more leadership at the moment in the face of ISIS across the Atlantic than there is coming from the White House.

And President Obama's leading from behind, I think, is damaging the United States on the international stage. I think it's lowering the faith of America's allies and American leadership. That's a very terrible thing. And president Obama really needs to understand that we are engaged in a global war against a vicious enemy, a vicious Islamist enemy and we need to emphatically defeat this enemy and defeat the brutal and barbaric Islamist ideology behind it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now we only have 30 seconds left.

Do you have any idea sort of what the British people are thinking which way they want to go? Do they want to get more aggressive, will they stand behind Cameron or not?

GARDINER: Yes, I think the, you know, British people are very much of the view that the free world has to fight ISIS, has to emphatically defeat ISIS.

I think the British people are rallying around the prime minister at this time. And they're looking for robust British, also American leadership on the world stage.

At the end of the day, the United States must lead. Otherwise, the world is a far more dangerous place. It's very unfortunate at the moment that the White House and President Obama simply isn't leading. And that, I think, is sending the wrong message to our enemies at this time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nile, thank you.

GARDINER: Thank you.