“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”
“Clearly, the fight against ISIS has shifted away from the Mideast. President Trump’s forthcoming National Security Strategy memo rightly focuses on boosting homeland security. But the president’s national security team should also intensify its support of Asian governments where Islamic extremism is on the rise. Further, the United States should expand its special forces activities in Africa and Asia, in an effort to neutralize the Islamic State’s threat before it becomes a real problem, as it did in northern Iraq and Syria in 2014.”
The ongoing Mosul Offensive is proceeding well, but the Islamic State is not going anywhere for a while. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are fighting to retake the vital Helmand Province with renewed vigor, as the U.S. continues to drawdown. The fact that the Islamic State can easily find refuge in Syria and that the Taliban seem poised to retake operational control over Afghanistan means that the U.S. is on the losing side of an eroding stalemate in the Global War on Terror. This essay addresses these concerns and articulates a general way forward.