Priority in the new administration is to defeat ISIS and eliminate the threat that the so-called caliphate poses to the United States and the region. President Trump has sworn in and begun his work signing many executive orders. Promises are leading to action.
The foremost, although yet to be discussed, of which is defeating and removing ISIL from the battlefield. When the President said that defeating ISIS was tricky, he is right. It’s an international nightmare that’s been allowed to occur and play itself out. To some extent, the dust has settled. Russia and Turkey are launching joint air-strikes. There’s a growing international distaste for ISIL beyond what there was before. In time, it could come to pass that many see ISIL when they think of Syria.
In effect, Assad might escape and continue to rule – and all eyes will be refocused on ISIL. If Assad is tamed and even participates in a western development model – would that be a good thing in the long run? Or are his regime’s moral transgressions too egregious?
But – Assad aside – an international effort of some sort is necessary to root out ISIL. Russia and the U.S. are the two capable partners to remove the real estate and defeat ISIS militarily. The two forces would probably have to meet in the middle, because the idea of coordinating directly with Russia is a dim prospect that could become a reality. But, for how long and would it last?
There’s another side to Presidential decisions such as significant foreign policy victories. They’re political decisions, so, they require political calculations; such as timing – and cultivating the right image. The current administration ran with a platform that felt the military has been made weaker. They made a rallying cry that our military was at risk of appearing weaker than they are in some respects due to bad policy and the new team seeks to be a fix.
To make an effort in line with his campaign, the POTUS will need a strategy that obliterates ISIL, for lack of a better word, a showcase of military might and special operations glory. It will be a proud moment for SOF. However, the coalition that is formed to undertake this mission will possibly carve a new world order moving forward. If the coalition is primarily Turkey and Russia, it’s more of an anti-coalition destined to break in the future.
However, if the coalition was inclusive to all nations that wish to stand up to terrorism and eradicate cancer such as ISIL, it might work for the better. In that scenario, maybe there’s a UN Security Council resolution that enacts its first formal counter-terror operation via a resolution. If this happens, elements like ISIL will find it harder to come out in the open and form armies, again, because the world will not be as negligent. This would be the POTUS’s major foreign policy victory leading into a re-election.
Featured image courtesy of Newstarget.