Confronting the Islamic State—and the Limits of American Power

Islamic State fighters wave an Islamic State flag as they patrol in a commandeered Iraqi military vehicle, Fallujah, Iraq, March 20, 2014 (AP photo).
Islamic State fighters wave an Islamic State flag as they patrol in a commandeered Iraqi military vehicle, Fallujah, Iraq, March 20, 2014 (AP photo).
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Russia’s deployment of military equipment and personnel to Syria, combined with revelations about failed U.S. efforts to train and equip Syrian rebels, has rekindled criticisms of the Obama administration’s strategy against the self-declared Islamic State. The U.S. approach has been attacked from both sides of the political aisle, characterized as mission creep by some and weak incrementalism by others. During last week’s presidential debate, in particular, most of the Republican presidential candidates vied to burnish their national security credentials by vowing to expand U.S. military operations to defeat the Islamic State. However, the urge to “do something” in Iraq and […]

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