The advancing onslaught of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq has left observers scrambling. Analysts have published articles and referenced history in an effort to explain why the timing of the surge is significant and how the current strategic and tactical efforts of the network support an overarching motivation and goal. These variables would ostensibly assist the public in understanding the purpose for the group’s existence.
As a consequence of the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, many policy analysts have subscribed to the perception that U.S. influence around the world is waning. Comparatively speaking, many of these same analysts have pointed to the rise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) as both a variable in the collapse of American influence as well as for context in proving the point that American power is in decline. Taken in context of the unpopularity of the war in Iraq in many countries around the globe, it is easy to accept that American foreign policy remains a divisive issue at best and for many an example of American decline at worst. Domestic politics has compounded the clouding of this issue. American policy makers and security strategists are often restrained due to the United States’ character as a Republic. The accountability of Executive and Legislative office holders to their constituencies in elections ensures a modicum of responsibility is impressed upon each elected official in the form of votes. This ensures that the decisions of the American government remain close to the people and lends transparency to the process of governing and executing foreign policy.
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