by Dish Staff
Obama’s remarks express a sense of proportion missing from alarmist claims that ISIS is on the verge of taking over Iraq or establishing an Islamic Caliphate. Contrary to these absurd warnings, ISIS is, as the President noted, engaged in a “regional power struggle” one in which its support is capped by its Sunni sectarian nature, which limits its maximum appeal to the 20% of Iraqis who are Sunni. Furthermore, Obama is correct to note that ISIS is far less of a direct threat to the United States than it is to Iran, Damascus, and Riyadh, and by extension Moscow. All have a much greater strategic interest in preventing a collapse of the Iraqi state, and all will therefore intervene directly to prevent such an eventuality, provided the United States does not do it for them. That said, if the United States is willing to pay the financial and military burden of stopping ISIS, Tehran and Moscow will be overjoyed, though that pleasure will not stop them from attempting to extract a political payment for allowing the US to do their own work for them. Obama appears determined to ensure that the US will not be left alone for the bill for what is in reality a geopolitical public service for the region.
Jack Shafer chastises most of his colleagues in the American press for taking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s war rhetoric as gospel and accordingly overhyping that threat: