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Had there been no #Iraq War, there would have been no U.S. occupation, no anti-American insurgency, no Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, & therefore no Islamic State

Superb piece as usual by ⁦@stephenWalt⁩ who throws cold water on current #Syria commentary…
“Equally misleading to talk about the United States losing Syria, because the country was never America’s to begin with. On the contrary, it has been a Soviet or Russian client state since the mid-1950’s”
“Worth remembering that prior to the Syrian uprising (and the subsequent emergence of the Islamic State), Washington never cared very much about who ran Syria and certainly didn’t see Syria’s internal politics as a vital U.S. concern”
“Instead of obsessing about who is supposedly “winning” & who is supposedly “losing,” the US should start by identifying its core strategic interests. When it comes to the ME, its main strategic interest is helping ensure Middle East oil & gas continues to flow to world markets”
“The ideology of a group like the Islamic State is not eradicated by bombs, drones, artillery shells, or bullets. The ultimate protection against such groups is not an open-ended American commitment but rather the creation of effective local governments and institutions”
“Islamic State’s ideological message rests in part on opposition to foreign interference, & it has long used U.S. presence in the region as a recruiting tool. Getting out of #Syria won’t neutralize that message right away, but it could make the group less persuasive over time”
“Attacks directed or inspired by Islamic State have killed 64 Americans (out of a population of roughly 325 million) & roughly 350 Europeans (out of a population of > 500 million). These deaths are deeply regrettable, but danger does not rise to level of an existential threat”
“Kurds were not fighting Islamic State in order to do Uncle Sam a favor; they did it out of their own self-interest. Welcome to the brutal world of international politics: Nations & states cooperate when their interests align, but cooperation often ceases once interests diverge”
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