Stephen Walt asks in this Foreign Policy article, what should we do if ISIS wins? His answer–live with it. That’s the closest anyone has come to my formula of dealing with ISIS through intelligence, not military measures. We agree that ISIS is not a military threat to anyone but its own people–and the challenge is to stop its terrorist offshoots.
One point Walt glosses over is the possibility that ISIS-trained foreigners could return home and try to carry out terror attacks on their own. This is a more complex threat than al-Qaida, which is centrally organized. It’s a challenge the West has to gear up for, using its resources to combat the real problem, instead of spending billions of dollars in a pointless, misguided and doomed effort to bomb ISIS into submission and “train” hapless Iraqi forces to fight a fight they don’t really want.
And here’s a link to the story that goes with the map–an entertaining if somewhat superficial history of Islam, starting with a first-person account of a visit to Iraq.