UK, US leaders in joint Time of London editorial: We will not be 'cowed' by extremists

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UK, US leaders in joint Time of London editorial: We will not be 'cowed' by extremists
President Barack Obama listens as British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a news conference at the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
US President Barack Obama greets US Ambassador to Britain Matthew Winthrop Barzun (L) as he disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England, on September 3, 2014, on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, WALES - SEPTEMBER 3: British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 3, 2014 in Newport, Wales, United Kingdom. Some 67 world leaders will be attending the NATO summit at Celtic Manor September 4-5. (Photo by Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama waves as he disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England, on September 3, 2014, on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, speaks to employees at General Dynamics Corp.'s U.K. division during a tour of the company's plant in Newport, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Cameron will today sign a 3.5 billion-pound ($5.8 billion) order from General Dynamics for nearly 600 armored Scout vehicles for the British Army. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama British Prime Minister David Cameron participate in a news conference at the G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JUNE 4: US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) attend a joint press conference on the last day of the G7 summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on June 5, 2014. Leaders of the worlds leading industrialized countries minus Russia met in Brussels for a Group of Seven summit to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the relations with Moscow.(Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) and British Prime Minister David Cameron hold a joint press conference during the G7 Summit at the European Council in Brussels, on June 5, 2014. Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialised nations head from a two-day summit in Brussels to Paris before travelling to D-Day commemorations in Normandy on June 6 where they will rub shoulders with the Russian leader. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
iU.S. President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One as he arrives in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama and 89th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John Millard walk on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. President Obama flies to Estonia, in a show of solidarity with one of the countries that could benefit from NATO’s plans to expand its military presence in Eastern Europe. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
U.S. President Barack Obama high fives a child as he is welcomed by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted by Urmas Paet, Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, left, and Toomas Kahur, Estonia's Chief of Protocol, center, as he arrives in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Journalists wait to photograph U.S. President Barack Obama as he steps off Air Force One upon arrival in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama walks to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, as he begins his trip to Estonia and Wales for the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama walks out of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., then onto Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders then onto Wales for a NATO summit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama returns a salute as he disembarks Marine One helicopter to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014, as he begins his trip to Estonia and Wales for the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama and with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves review the honor guard at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama and with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves review the honor guard at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, meets with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama signs a guest book for Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The guest book is placed on a table after it was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama after he was welcomed by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves review the honor guard at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves are seated with their respective delegations during their meeting at Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014. Obama is in Estonia for a one day visit where he will meet with Baltic State leaders before heading to the NATO Summit in Wales. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2nd R) listen to their national anthems prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas (2nd R) prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (R) is greeted by local children prior to meetings with the Estonian President at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C) speaks to local children prior to meetings with the Estonian President at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (L) and US President Barack Obama (2nd L) inspect a military honor guard prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (L) and US President Barack Obama (C) inspect a military honor guard prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2nd R) arrive for meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (C) welcomes US President Barack Obama (L) for meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (2nd R) listen to their national anthems prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (C) listen to their national anthems prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (C) listen to their national anthems prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / ILMARS ZNOTINS (Photo credit should read ILMARS ZNOTINS/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama's message in a guest book is seen prior to meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves walk up stairs to hold meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (3rd R) and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (3rd L) hold meetings at the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia, September 3, 2014. US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia aboard Air Force One to meet Baltic leaders and reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of ex-Soviet NATO members. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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BY ALAN SCHER ZAGIER

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) -- NATO leaders grappled Thursday with whether the alliance has a role in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East, as heads of state converged in Wales for a high-stakes summit also focused on the crisis in Ukraine and next steps in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that their nations would "not be cowed" by extremists from the Islamic State group who have claimed responsibility for killing two American journalists. They also challenged NATO to not turn inward in the face of the threat.

"Those who want to adopt an isolationist approach misunderstand the nature of security in the 21st century," Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint editorial in the Times of London. "Developments in other parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria, threaten our security at home."

Obama, Cameron and dozens of other NATO leaders met on a golf resort in Wales for the two-day summit. Leaders here also planned to commit to a more robust rapid response force on its eastern flank, which would aim to serve as a deterrent to Russian aggression.

Yet much of the action was to take place on the sidelines of the summit, where the American and British leaders were expected to drum up support for an international response to confronting the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Arriving at the summit site on Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he believes the broader international community "has an obligation to stop the Islamic State from advancing further," but noted that the alliance hasn't received any request for help.

"I'm sure that if the Iraqi government were to forward a request for NATO assistance, that would be considered seriously by NATO allies," Rasmussen said.

The militants have claimed responsibility for murdering two American journalists, releasing gruesome videos of their beheadings. Both the U.S. and Britain are deeply concerned about the potential threat to their homelands that could come from the foreign fighters who have joined the violent Islamic State group.

Cameron on Monday proposed new laws that would give police the power to seize the passports of Britons suspected of having traveled abroad to fight with terrorist groups.

The U.S. began launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq last month, and both the U.S. and Britain have been making humanitarian aid drops to besieged minority groups there. Cameron said that he hadn't ruled out joining the U.S. in airstrikes, but added that the priority was to support those already fighting the militants on the ground.

"We need to show real resolve and determination, we need to use every power and everything in our armory with our allies - with those on the ground - to make sure we do everything we can to squeeze this dreadful organization out of existence," Cameron told the British network ITV.

Also facing Obama is a decision about whether to expand U.S. military action against the extremists to Syria. While Obama has said he's considering that step, he has suggested in recent days that it's not imminent.

U.S. officials say Obama is reluctant to delve into Syria's quagmire on his own. He's expected to use some of his discussions in Wales to try to build a coalition that could join him in confronting the Islamic State through a combination of military might, diplomatic pressure and economic penalties.

Obama and Cameron visited a local school Thursday morning, where they greeted students learning about NATO before sitting down for a private meeting. Later, the two met with their counterparts from France, Germany and Italy to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. In a show of Western solidarity, new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also joined the discussion.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a standoff for months, with pro-Moscow forces stirring instability in eastern Ukrainian cities. On the eve of the NATO summit, Russia and Ukraine said they were working on a deal to halt the fighting, but Western leaders expressed skepticism - noting it wasn't the first attempt to end the deadly conflict.

A centerpiece of the NATO summit was to be the announcement of the rapid response force. Officials said the alliance could position at least 4,000 forces and military equipment in the Baltics and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

"We must use our military to ensure a persistent presence in Eastern Europe, making clear to Russia that we will always uphold our Article 5 commitments to collective self-defense," Obama and Cameron wrote.

Under Article 5 of the NATO charter, an attack on one member state is viewed on an attack on the whole alliance. Obama reiterated his support for that principle Wednesday during a visit to Estonia, one of the newer NATO members set on edge by Russia's provocations.

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Associated Press writers John-Thor Dahlburg in Wales and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.

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