Blogs: The Skeptics

America's Pretense of Negotiating with North Korea

No, a new surge isn’t the solution to ISIS

It was before Washington brought the war on terror home by running roughshod over the Constitution (plus rule of law more broadly) with mass surveillance of innocents and groping of babies and old ladies at the airport. It was before we conducted so many airstrikes on ISIS that our military is now literally running out of bombs.  

It was before we’d done precisely the sort of surge McCain seems to be advocating only to end up a few years later plagued by ISIS anyway. 

It was before we realized the sort of reckless foreign policy McCain avows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not affordable; it’s not restrained; and it’s certainly not effective. 

On top of all that, lengthy foreign intervention is just what ISIS wants to provoke with its brutality. “They are aching for a conflict with the West,” explains Dr. Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. The gut-wrenching execution videos and attacks in Europe are “bait to provoke an over-reaction,” Neuman adds. “As soon as there are Western boots on the ground it then becomes the old narrative of the West versus Islam and they can claim they are fighting the occupation. They are trying to suck us in.” 

If we follow McCain’s advice and ship off tens of thousands of Americans into harm’s way, we will be giving ISIS what it wants, allowing it to set the terms of engagement and frame the fight as local autonomy against western imperialism. 

And even though State Department research has found that “nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of [ISIS] and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups,” that doesn’t mean they want more western intervention. On the contrary, the same State report revealed, “around half of Iraqi Sunnis and Shia”—categories which include the vast majority of the country—“now say that they completely oppose” the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.  

In other words, they understand and reject ISIS’ cruelty and hate, but they still want American intervention in their homeland to end. 

In this light, McCain’s surge advice becomes even more preposterous. Is it really wise to spend more blood and treasure to play into the plans of terrorists and foist our assistance on a population that doesn’t want it? No reasonable observer could honestly answer “yes.” 

 

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at the American Security Initiative Foundation. She is a contributing writer at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Relevant Magazine and  The American Conservative, among other outlets. 

Image: Soldiers in Iraq. Public domain.

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Give Abbas Another Chance

It was before Washington brought the war on terror home by running roughshod over the Constitution (plus rule of law more broadly) with mass surveillance of innocents and groping of babies and old ladies at the airport. It was before we conducted so many airstrikes on ISIS that our military is now literally running out of bombs.  

It was before we’d done precisely the sort of surge McCain seems to be advocating only to end up a few years later plagued by ISIS anyway. 

It was before we realized the sort of reckless foreign policy McCain avows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not affordable; it’s not restrained; and it’s certainly not effective. 

On top of all that, lengthy foreign intervention is just what ISIS wants to provoke with its brutality. “They are aching for a conflict with the West,” explains Dr. Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. The gut-wrenching execution videos and attacks in Europe are “bait to provoke an over-reaction,” Neuman adds. “As soon as there are Western boots on the ground it then becomes the old narrative of the West versus Islam and they can claim they are fighting the occupation. They are trying to suck us in.” 

If we follow McCain’s advice and ship off tens of thousands of Americans into harm’s way, we will be giving ISIS what it wants, allowing it to set the terms of engagement and frame the fight as local autonomy against western imperialism. 

And even though State Department research has found that “nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of [ISIS] and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups,” that doesn’t mean they want more western intervention. On the contrary, the same State report revealed, “around half of Iraqi Sunnis and Shia”—categories which include the vast majority of the country—“now say that they completely oppose” the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.  

In other words, they understand and reject ISIS’ cruelty and hate, but they still want American intervention in their homeland to end. 

In this light, McCain’s surge advice becomes even more preposterous. Is it really wise to spend more blood and treasure to play into the plans of terrorists and foist our assistance on a population that doesn’t want it? No reasonable observer could honestly answer “yes.” 

 

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at the American Security Initiative Foundation. She is a contributing writer at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Relevant Magazine and  The American Conservative, among other outlets. 

Image: Soldiers in Iraq. Public domain.

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Obama Must Lift the Fog of Drone War

It was before Washington brought the war on terror home by running roughshod over the Constitution (plus rule of law more broadly) with mass surveillance of innocents and groping of babies and old ladies at the airport. It was before we conducted so many airstrikes on ISIS that our military is now literally running out of bombs.  

It was before we’d done precisely the sort of surge McCain seems to be advocating only to end up a few years later plagued by ISIS anyway. 

It was before we realized the sort of reckless foreign policy McCain avows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s not affordable; it’s not restrained; and it’s certainly not effective. 

On top of all that, lengthy foreign intervention is just what ISIS wants to provoke with its brutality. “They are aching for a conflict with the West,” explains Dr. Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. The gut-wrenching execution videos and attacks in Europe are “bait to provoke an over-reaction,” Neuman adds. “As soon as there are Western boots on the ground it then becomes the old narrative of the West versus Islam and they can claim they are fighting the occupation. They are trying to suck us in.” 

If we follow McCain’s advice and ship off tens of thousands of Americans into harm’s way, we will be giving ISIS what it wants, allowing it to set the terms of engagement and frame the fight as local autonomy against western imperialism. 

And even though State Department research has found that “nearly all Iraqis have unfavorable views of [ISIS] and oppose its goals and tactics, with no significant variation across religious sects and ethnic groups,” that doesn’t mean they want more western intervention. On the contrary, the same State report revealed, “around half of Iraqi Sunnis and Shia”—categories which include the vast majority of the country—“now say that they completely oppose” the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.  

In other words, they understand and reject ISIS’ cruelty and hate, but they still want American intervention in their homeland to end. 

In this light, McCain’s surge advice becomes even more preposterous. Is it really wise to spend more blood and treasure to play into the plans of terrorists and foist our assistance on a population that doesn’t want it? No reasonable observer could honestly answer “yes.” 

 

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at the American Security Initiative Foundation. She is a contributing writer at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Relevant Magazine and  The American Conservative, among other outlets. 

Image: Soldiers in Iraq. Public domain.

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