Long War: Obama’s ISIS Strategy Will Mean Years of Steady Escalation

Plans Diplomacy to Amass Allies While Slowly Building Up Conflict

Last week, President Obama admitted to not having a strategy for victory over ISIS, and that remains the case. Yet at today’s NATO summit, he laid out what amounts to a strategy for ever increasing escalation of the conflict.

Today, Obama announced the acquisition of a number of NATO members as allies for that conflict, and aides indicated that there will be many more diplomatic efforts to secure more and more across the region.

The long-term diplomatic effort, along with the lack of any serious strategy that could conceivably “win” the war, means that the weeks of steady escalation we’ve already seen of the war are going to be continued over the very long term.

The plan to build a “moderate” rebel alternative to ISIS in Syria, which the US has been trying, and failing, to pull off for years, is going to be pushed on for years longer, while the US builds up its involvement in the war on the Iraqi side, and eventually gives up on the futile effort to manufacture a pro-US Syria faction and expands the war outright into Syria.

The goals of the war remain nebulous, though in recent days the president and other administration officials have talked up the outright destruction of ISIS as a key part of the conflict.

So far, everything the US has done in the war has actually run contrary to that goal, as the US involvement and repeated escalations have simply added to ISIS’  profile and allowed it to recruit in ways unimaginable before.

The lack of a cohesive strategy for the war itself, and the focus on a quasi-strategy of escalation, means not only many years of war, but likely myriad additional US missteps that are playing right into the ISIS leadership’s hands.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.