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To Defeat the Islamic State
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The decisions that determined the fate of the great nations and empires that failed to survive the 20th century are well known.

For the Kaiser’s Germany, it was the “blank cheque” to Austria after Sarajevo. For Great Britain, the 1939 war guarantee to Poland. For the Third Reich, it was the June 1941 invasion of Russia. For the Empire of the Sun, the decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

And for the Soviet Empire, it was the invasion of Afghanistan.

As for the United States, historians may one day concur with the late Gen. Bill Odom. For the lone superpower to survive that century, the decision to invade and occupy Iraq was the most disastrous blunder in its history.

George W. Bush held out the promise of a peaceful Mesopotamian democracy as a magnet for all Arab nations. What we produced is a broken land awash in blood, a country severed by tribe and faith: a Kurdish north, Shia south and a Sunni west controlled by the savages of an “Islamic State” even al-Qaida hates and fears.

In Syria, where the United States has been aiding rebels to bring down Bashar Assad, that Islamic State now controls the northern and eastern half of the country. In Libya, where we delivered the air and missile strikes to smash Col. Gadhafi’s forces, Islamist fanatics have gained the upper hand in the civil war for control of that country.

In all three countries, the United States, which claimed to be battling dictatorship to bring democracy, helped to create the power vacuum these Islamists have moved to fill.

We are the enablers of the Islamic State.

How grave is the threat?

ISIS is a “direct threat to our homeland” says Rep. Peter King. “An existential threat” echoes Sen. Lindsey Graham, “I think of an American city in flames.”

The Islamic State “is beyond anything we’ve seen,” says Sec. Chuck Hagel, an “imminent threat to every interest we have.”

America is “in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in,” says Sen. Jim Inhofe, “They’re crazy out there. And they are rapidly developing a method to blow up a major U.S. city.”

Undeniably, these are bloodthirsty religious fanatics who revel in beheadings and crucifixions and have exhibited battlefield bravery and skill.

But are 17,000 jihadi fighters in landlocked regions of Iraq and Syria really an imminent and mortal threat to an America with thousands of nuclear weapons and tens of thousands of missiles and bombs and the means to deliver them?

How grave is this crisis? Consider the correlation of forces.

Who are the vocal and visible friends and fighting allies of ISIS?

They are nonexistent.

The Turks, Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis who, stupidly, have been aiding ISIS in bringing down Bashar Assad and blowing a hole in the “Shia Crescent” of Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Hezbollah, have lately awakened to their idiocy and are cutting off aid to ISIS.

Moderate Sunnis detest ISIS for its barbarism and desecration of shrines. The Christians and Yazidis fear and loathe them. The Kurds, both the Syrian YPG and PKK, which broke open the exit route for the Yazidis from Mount Sinjar, and the peshmerga despise ISIS.


Lebanon’s army, Syria’s army, Hezbollah and Iran have been fighting ISIS with Russian assistance. Vladimir Putin himself warned us of the absurdity of our attacking Assad last year, arguing that we would be allying ourselves with the same terrorists who brought down the twin towers.

Was Putin not right?

Even al-Qaida and Hamas have repudiated ISIS.

We need no boots on the ground in Syria, for it is the presence of “Crusaders” on Islamic soil that is the principal recruiting tool of the jihadists.

What we need is diplomacy beyond the simple-minded, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists!” a diplomacy that invites old enemies into a coalition for a cause on which we all agree.

If Assad is willing to go in for the kill on ISIS, let us work out a truce and amnesty for the Free Syrian Army and call off that part of the rebellion, so Assad’s army can focus on killing ISIS.
George H. W. Bush made an ally of Hafez al-Assad in Desert Storm.

Why not make an ally of his son against ISIS?

We should next tell the Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis that any more aid to ISIS and they are on their own. We should inform the Turks that their continued membership in NATO is contingent upon sealing their border to ISIS volunteers and their assistance in eradicating the terrorist organization.

We should convey to Iran that an end to our cold war is possible if all attacks on the West stop and we work together to exterminate the Islamic State. Why would they not take the deal?

As for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed successor to Muhammad, my bet is that he closes out his brief career as caliph at an unscheduled meeting with Seal Team 6.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Middle East 
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  1. TomB says:

    Buchanan is exactly right in remembering that it was lots of the exact same people and groups now screaming about the danger of ISIS who screamed for the opening of Pandora’s Box that was the deposing of Saddam, and so are in the position now of saying they still know better than everyone else.

    An absolute Everest of hubris somehow not worth mentioning by our major media.

    But here’s the thing: To whatever degree ISIS *is* indeed a threat to vital or even important U.S. interests—putting aside for the moment the typical inability of those claiming same to give any specifics—of course it is just monumentally more of a threat to Israel.

    And so both the logical and principled position of those holding the view that ISI should be warred upon ought to be that Israel is the one who should now be doing that warring.

    After all not only is ISIS a supposedly worse threat to its interests, but we’ve all be told for decades now what a valuable ally and friend Israel is to us. How it’s been worth it ladling our billions upon billions over it year after year, decade after decade.

    So now’s the time for it to actually provide some evidence of same. Go to it, Israel.

    And, after just coming off an attempt to get Obama to go to war with Iran, it would likewise somewhat help rebuild its old position that it had never tried to get us to go to war for its interests, and that to say otherwise was a blood libel.

    Impossible for it to say that anymore of course after that pro-bomb-Iran effort earlier this year, but still, for once at least other than pounding on near defenseless Gazans, it could take its military out for some real heavy lifting on its own instead of first indeed getting us to do it instead.

    Go get ’em, Israel; you just watch for our great ally doing it anyday now. Anytime now. You just wait. And wait …

    • Replies: @KA
  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We would make ourselves safer simply by ending any immigration to America (or anywhere else in the West) from Muslims, then by any military action.

  3. The original plan of GWB’s to invade Iraq was partially inspired by George HWB’s friends’ Pax Americana Neoconservative dream. For Rove and GWB Iraq become about immediate gain, and there was great immediate gain for Western corporations after the Iraq war in 2003 when the oil fields became controlled by Western corporations. That’s the difference between what doomed the other nations/empires you mentioned and GWB’s Iraq conquest. GWB’s big business friends are motivated by greed and short-sighted financial interests, so in a sense, they won, however briefly–the elite in those failed empires/nations elite didn’t reap the short-term financial benefits from their failed conquests, the Western elite reaped great profits from the Iraq war.

  4. KA says:

    Michael Ledeen warmly welcomed the prospect of the engulfing effect of the inter cities ,intra villages violences across Middle East starting anywhere ASAP following 911.
    He was the person most likely involved with the yellow cake ,fake Niger document,and the breaking in of the Nigerian embassy in Italy.
    Yoded Yionon as veteran military analyst of Israel explained how ,why ,and when the Balkanization of the Middle East would become the main objective of Israel allowing IDF to act independently and allowing Israel to impose its authorities across a broad swath of ME from Libya to Iran .
    Sharon followed the dreams in 1982 . Later PNAC and JINSA and AIPAC mounted the policy coup in Clinton and Bush2 administration to undo Oslo and force US to realize the dreams of Yoded Yinon which was the aim of the Zionist since the time of
    It is dangerous time for Arab . But it may turn out to be the darkest hour before the dawn . Michael Ledeen and his ilk may not continue to celebrate the violent morbid pleasure too long .

  5. Pat says some sensible things, and for that matter so does Rand Paul. But when push comes to shove, no one is making a case for the rank criminality of the USA

    To defeat the Islamic State, the USA would have to recall Pogo: “We have met the enemy and they is us”

  6. colm says:

    The Western Civilization was dealt a death blow when Woody Wilson decided to jump into WWI on 1917.

    Maybe in 300 years they will see Woody Wilson below Warren Harding, assuming there is an America then.

    America likes to topple monarchs, and the results are usually not good.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. KA says:
    Zarqawi was allowed to settle in pro American Kurdistan by Neocons who scuttled any deal with Iran that was handing him over to US in exchange for MEK .

    Isis have many fathers .

    Zarqai can also claim to have donated to the same sperm bank –

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Woodrow Wilson was the worst thing to ever happen to the western world.

  9. IA says:

    Unfortunately, there is no such thing as moderate Islam. There are kafirized muslims but as we are seeing in Turkey they eventually return to Islam proper. Mohammed was the perfect muslim and he engaged in jihad, routinely killing kafirs. While Pat Buchanan is no dhimmi Islam will always be alien to traditional western culture. Modernism on the other hand might lead the west to dhimmitude or even outright conversion.

  10. Rehmat says: • Website

    Pat Buchanan is a well-known Islamophobe hiding behind so-called “White Americanism”. He is afraid to acknowledge the fact that ISIS is an extension of US-Israel ‘War on Islam’.

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