Defeating ISIS—The U.S. Leads a United World

The methods and strategy that will defeat the barbarous Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are necessarily “on another planet” from the ISIS world of bloody beheadings and murderous genocides. It is world of interdependence, multilateral cooperation, and action among international and regional organizations. The global unanimity on ISIS is overwhelming—and will reinforce a drive to defeat its ruthless ambitions. 

Indeed that reinforcement is happening now as the UN unanimously condemns ISIS under an UN Charter article that includes the use of military force. The UN crossed into Syria to deliver humanitarian aid without Syria’s permission, theoretically violating Syrian sovereignty. The Arab League is speaking out and acting against ISIS, in de facto alliance with the U.S.

Significantly, at its recent summit meeting in Wales, NATO put the ISIS threat on the NATO table, making it clear that threats NATO must deal with are not artificially contained in one regional framework.

A new idea that is surfacing is that we don’t need fewer international organizations to secure global order, we need more. A New York Times editorial (August 24) stated that “creating a new regional force may be required” to combat ISIS.

 The US cannot “go it alone,” nor can it opt out. U.S. leadership, as President Obama stated yesterday, is the one constant in an uncertain world. We are the indispensable nation leading from within alliances and international and regional organizations. There is little evidence that the Republican Party accepts this new world, however.  After Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) spoke of the vital work of building alliances to combat ISIS on PBS News Hour, his Republican counterpart, Jim Inhofe, spoke only of attacks and threats to the homeland, and repeatedly attacked the President for not having a strategy. But the President does have a strategy. In an interdependent world, when essential, we will rally other nations behind “our common security and common humanity.”

Ellizabeth Spiro Clark, Chair
PPC Human Rights and International Organizations Task Force 

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