Video Driven Policy vs. Strategy | Charles Duelfer

Video Driven Policy vs. Strategy

The need for a strategy on ISIS was provoked by the videos of Americans being barbarically executed. A year ago, there was horrible video of Sarin use against civilians in Syria. That provoked action by the White House.   In both cases, the underlying dynamics were clear in advance. Nevertheless actions were taken only after videos provoked public fervor.

It makes you wonder what disastrous trends are lurking unattended simply because they don’t lend themselves to video.

The White House seems to be constantly in a reactive mode in foreign policy. Clearly their focus is on domestic issues—not surprising given the President’s background and the looming mid-term elections. Still, he’s got two years left and there are key foreign policy and national security issues that need forethought, not reactive strategies.

The Middle East is one obvious area. Consider ISIS.  Isis is a symptom, not the root issue.   ISIS grows because the chaos of Syria and Iraq offers fertile ground. Instability is an opportunity for ISIS and other radical groups.  The Arab spring was not a wholly good thing—that’s a long discussion in itself. Suffice to say that stability in the region has been reduced and risk has grown–a lot. Libya and Egypt stand out.  Opportunities for Iran have have increased. It appears to many that the White House is trying to rebuild a relationship with Iran and that comes at the expense of traditional allies and friends like Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc.

If you asked senior leaders in Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, or even Moscow or London, what the US policy and strategy for the Middle East (let alone East Asia and other regions) you would not get a clear answer. Far from it.


This entry was posted in Iran, Iraq, ISIL, ISIS, Sunni, Terrorism. Bookmark the permalink.

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