In militarily going after ISIS, President Obama is again letting his foreign policy be shaped by the popular illusions of Official Washington, particularly the idea that aiding Syrian “moderates” is a viable part of the strategy, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
Official Washington honors international law when it’s politically useful, such as in condemning a global adversary, but then dismisses it as useless if it gets in the way of some desired U.S. action. This “international law a la carte” undermines the concept’s fundamental value, says Lawrence Davidson.
After ISIS murdered a second American hostage – freelance journalist Steven Sotloff – pressure mounted on President Obama to react. But a contrary view is that ISIS doesn’t threaten the U.S. homeland and regional powers could best defeat this brutal group, as Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland suggests.
War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.