We’re fortunate to be living in the most peaceful era in human history, President Obama said in Germany on Monday before announcing that he was sending 250 more American special operations forces troops to Syria.
“I want to begin with an observation that, given the challenges that we face in the world and the headlines we see every day, may seem improbable, but it’s true,” Mr. Obama said in Hanover on the final day of his tour of Europe and the Middle East. “We are fortunate to be living in the most peaceful, most prosperous, most progressive era in human history.
“That may surprise young people who are watching TV or looking at your phones and it seems like only bad news comes through every day,” he said. “But consider that it’s been decades since the last war between major powers. More people live in democracies. We’re wealthier and healthier and better educated, with a global economy that has lifted up more than a billion people from extreme poverty, and created new middle classes from the Americas to Africa to Asia.
“If you had to choose a moment in time to be born, any time in human history, and you didn’t know ahead of time what nationality you were or what gender or what your economic status might be, you’d choose today — which isn’t to say that there is not still enormous suffering and enormous tragedy and so much work for us to do,” he said.
The president conceded that “dangerous forces” around the world threatened to pull society backward, “and our progress is not inevitable.” He announced that he would add 250 military personnel to the 50 already on the ground fighting the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.
“They’re not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces that continue to drive [the Islamic State] back,” Mr. Obama said. “These terrorists will learn the same lesson as others before them have, which is, your hatred is no match for our nations united in the defense of our way of life.”