I have often wondered why the world insists that ISIS is not a state. I understand that there is power in being a state and giving any power to these terrorists seems inherently wrong. Yet, terror seems to be at the heart of many nations’ foundings, and while it seems to be on a new scale, when did we as a world forget our own history? Was it once the fear was gone? The danger of the past becomes more forgivable, especially when you have to live with the product.

DAVIES | Removing ISIS

Recent attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad and the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula have, in typically horrifying fashion, proven that ISIS has metastasised beyond its “J.V. team” origins. International outrage erupted, triggered by the attacks’ sophistication and the heightened threat they represent. Wary rivals like the United States and Russia should use their hardened resolve to seek deeper cooperation and assemble a coordinated front against the group. While impressive in the short term, these attacks may well have set the bell tolling for ISIS. The United States and Russia, the strongest powers involved in the Middle Eastern quagmire, are the international lynchpins of two loosely opposing groups whose members are also, at least nominally, fighting ISIS.

DAVIES | This Week in Lies and Idiocy

Last week, I heard a couple of news items that caught my ears. First was the announcement by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter that the United States would not “hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL.” Besides sending the pitch of Lindsay Graham’s voice above the human aural register, Secretary Carter’s statement was interesting for its word choice. Specifically, ‘opportunistic’ struck me as a rather poor selection. Defined as “exploiting chances offered by immediate circumstances without reference to a general plan or moral principle,” ‘opportunistic’ embodies precisely the opposite of what most would argue a military intervention requires. Considering Secretary Carter uttered it in the same breath as he promised American boots on the ground, one has to question how such disastrous diction came to pass.

GLANZEL | You Can’t Just Wish ISIS Away

In the past six years, the political fault lines of the Middle East have drastically shifted.  Between the Arab Spring, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and the pan-regional growth of radical Islam, the Middle East of 2009 looks radically different from the Middle East of 2015.  These drastic shifts have left the established political order of the region in rotting decay.  From Iraq to Yemen, Syria to Egypt, the old political order has died, opening an immense power vacuum — a vacuum that radical Islam is happy to fill. Surely, one could argue that the United States played a part in the Middle East’s power vacuum. Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 deprived Iraq of Saddam Hussein’s stable leadership (granted the operation also removed a genocidal maniac who killed 100,000 Kurds), and Obama’s support of the Arab Spring movement greatly weakened the legitimacy of Hosni Mubarak’s government in Egypt.  Yet, for the most part, the decay of established Middle Eastern governments has been an internal process.  Therefore, we cannot focus on the question of why chaos has broken out, but what can be done to solve the crisis. As turmoil ensues in the Middle East, the President’s response has been simple: Let’s just wait and see what happens.  In essence, the administration has simply been hoping that the regional chaos will somehow dissipate on its own.  Time and time again, the press has asked the White House and the Department of Defense for a detailed outline on how they plan to deal with ISIS.  And time and time again, both institutions have produced nothing.  I am certainly not a foreign or defense policy expert, but even I can tell you that hoping the problem will go away without a concrete plan is sheer insanity. While the United States has failed to help establish stable leadership in the Middle East, one nation has decided to fill the void: Russia — the same country that Mitt Romney warned about in 2012 (to which Obama simply laughed off).  In just the last few weeks, Vladimir Putin has stationed troops in Russia’s long time ally, Syria.  It is key to understand that wherever there is an American void, Putin seeks to fill it with Russian power and authority.