Hammer and Anvil

How to Defeat ISIS
January 2, 2015
Robert A. Pape, Keven Ruby, and Vincent Bauer

The ongoing U.S. air campaign against ISIS succeeded in blunting the group’s drive toward Kurdish and Shia territory. But it has failed to prevent ISIS’ consolidation of control over the Sunni areas in Iraq and Syria. Here’s how the United States can accomplish both.

At the top of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s agenda for 2015 is stopping the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Many critics assert that the current policy of limited air strikes is insufficient to defeat or seriously weaken ISIS and have offered radical alternatives. However, these “cures” are far worse than the disease. The best plan is to aggressively move forward within the broad parameters of the current strategy, building on its successes and vastly diminishing ISIS’ power and influence by the time U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office in two years. 

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