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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. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
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"Why would they not take the deal?"...They would not take the deal because they are fed up of being stabbed in the back by every US administration in recent memory. When was the last time the US kept it's word with any deal they have made with respect to foreign policy. Every leader in every region with a crisis in the last 30 plus years have ended up overthrown or dead as the result of US actions, despite having agreements with them, as well as having been their ally.
It is only a matter of time before ISIS conveniently ends up in eastern Ukraine beheading Novorussians and imposing Sharia law, except the US war hawks will be cheering those spectacles, as they did in Bosnia and Kosovo. Afterall, the Christian east seems to be more of a concern for the US neocons/libs than any Islamic threat.
It would be nice if our rules stop colluding with and funding jihad.
this is an absurd column, the author does not know the basic facts of the Iraq War, what the Hussein Regime was doing and harboring throughout the 90's and early 2000's and DOES NOT acknowledge it was his own Calls for Withdrawal of American Forces post-Iraq war which Obama carried through that has created what ISIS is doing in Iraq today.
Long after our invasion of Iraq, which he did indeed warn against, the old General later wrote a piece we should re-read today entitled, 'Victory Is Not an Option"
link for Winning is Not Option ...
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