Our Opinion: Strength in numbers

French President Francois Hollande is absolutely correct: Civilized nations, even those with long, sometimes bitter records of rivalry, must unite if we are to destroy Islamic terrorism.

But Hollande was, in effect, asking a question: Do nations capable of dealing with the barbarians have the will to do so?

Americans once had that determination, in the months following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in our country. But as we join the French in mourning the dead of Paris, do we still have it? Or are we hoping as our ancestors did that somehow, an ocean separating us from Europe, Africa and the Middle East will insulate us from the violence?

Hollande spoke Monday to French lawmakers, briefing them on what is known about the Friday massacre in Paris by Islamic terrorists. Then he said this:

“Syria has become the biggest factory of terrorism the world has ever known and the international community is still too divided and too incoherent.”

It is. And incredibly, the nation most at risk from Islamic militancy and at the same time most capable of snuffing it out – the United States – is doing little to stop the terrorists.

Both this country and Russia should join a coalition of other nations “to unify our strength and achieve a result that has been too long in coming,” Hollande recommended.

But President Barack Obama shows no inclination to do that. He gives the terrorists hope and comfort by proclaiming U.S. ground troops will never attack them. He fritters away resources. He releases hardened terrorists from U.S. custody. He rejects cooperation with Moscow even on a limited, temporary basis.

Perhaps Hollande can gather a group of other world leaders to enlist both Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin to battle the barbarians.

Think about the combined military, intelligence, economic and moral power of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Canada, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, just to name a few nations at risk from the terrorists’ drive to subjugate us all. Such an alliance could destroy the barbarians.

Will we Americans be part of it? Or will we merely wait to be attacked again?