America needs to increase foreign aid to Middle Eastern countries to help stem the growth of groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), President Obama said during an interview with Vice News that aired Monday.
"I'm confident that will happen but what I’m worried about, and what we’ll have to stay worried about, is, even if ISIL is defeated, the underlying problem of disaffected Sunnis around the world," Obama said, using an alternate acronym for the group.
“We can’t keep on thinking of counterterrorism and security as entirely separate from diplomacy, development, education — all these things that are considered soft, but in fact are vital to our national security. We don't fund those."
Obama said that those investments could "ultimately save us from having to send our young men and women to fight or having folks come here and doing great harm.”
That language echoes the sentiment given by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said in an interview on MSNBC's "Hardball" in February, "We cannot kill our way out of this war."
She received significant criticism from conservatives, but the administration stood by her call to address the root causes of extremism.
Obama also called ISIS an "unintended consequence" of the "invasion" of Iraq in 2003. That, he said, is "why we should generally aim before we shoot."