Aaron David Miller

The Nation-Building Trap

When it comes to destroying the Islamic State in Syria, boots on the ground should be the least of our worries.

The more I think through the Obama administration's strategy on Syria the more worried I get. I feel like the guy in the Kingston Trio's classic tune "A Worried Man."

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Americanasaurus and the March to War in Syria

The 6 fictions we have to stop telling ourselves about Obama, the Islamic State, and what the United States can and can't do to save Iraq and Syria.

George Kennan once compared democracy (a.k.a America?) to a large, lumbering prehistoric animal. "But I sometimes wonder whether in this respect a democracy is not uncomfortably similar to one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin: he lies there in his comfortable primeval mud and pays little attention to his environment; he is slow to wrath -- in fact, you practically have to whack his tail off to make him aware that his interests are being disturbed; but, once he grasps this, he lays about him with such blind determination that he not only destroys his adversary but largely wrecks his native habitat."

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The Coalition of Convenience

The U.S. needs to take a cold, hard look at the ulterior motives of its partners in the war against the Islamic State.

In an effort to avoid any parallels to Bush 43's war in Iraq, the Obama administration has studiously avoided the use of the term "coalition of the willing" in its campaign to line up allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). It's just as well.

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How the Islamic State Could Kill the Two-State Solution

The havoc wrought by the Islamic State extends far beyond Iraq and Syria.

As the Islamic State (IS) chalks up gains -- territory, money, weapons, recruits -- and spreads terror through its savage online theater, it may well be able to add another success to its trophy wall. Prospects for a two-state solution don't look terribly bright as it is. But the rise of, and fight against, IS may well be one of the last nails in the coffin of a process seemingly broken and beyond repair.

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The Islamic State's Home-Field Advantage

5 reasons why an expanded mission to strike James Foley's killers in Syria won't work. And why it's going to happen anyway.

Each day brings unsettling news of the Islamic State's (IS's) latest conquest. Last week, the flash point was the Mosul Dam in Iraq; today, the Taqba air base in Syria falls. Meanwhile, the U.S. air campaign continues -- haltingly -- against IS positions. Anyone who has ever been to a carnival can tell who eventually wins the game of Whac-A-Mole.

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