What is a Strategy to Defeat ISIS? (Part 2)

By | February 17, 2015

[February 17, 2015] Previously it was put forward that none of the popularly discussed strategies for defeating ISIS were sufficiently comprehensive – that the U.S. government had a poorly articulated “strategic patience” strategy, and that both are likely to fail. Today, a final four key items are presented that will make for a stronger grand strategy1 to defeat ISIS.2

“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In Part 2 of this three-part series are four additional requisites of a strategy (see Part 1 here):

  1. ISIS is part of the fabric of the Middle East and the world. Its ability to reach a global potential is approaching. What the West does, or does not do, will not have any lasting impact without the cooperation of all the powerful states of that region. Yet, there has never been a coalition or pact that addressed any problem like ISIS before.
  2. The military fight is only one part, but an essential part, of the equation. We must acknowledge that brute force works, that battlefield attrition of the enemy and pinpoint targeting of ISIS leaders is important, that we will give them no quarter and expect none, and that they will be hit everywhere they are regardless of location or country.
  3. All forms of nation-state power and influence must be brought to the fight. For example, there must also be a strong propaganda campaign, a destruction of ISIS recruiting effort, as well as economic and diplomatic isolation of ISIS and their supporters. ISIS must know that if they are ever successful in establishing a nation state unto themselves that all power will be brought to isolate and destroy it.
  4. There must be a united and steadfast display of “political will” by senior political leaders to take aggressive action against ISIS. There must be no doubt, in the mind of ISIS fighters and the world, that there is an unwavering drive to destroy it and its supporters in all their forms. No amount of threats, brutality, or even ISIS success on the battlefield will deter the world from destroying ISIS. The first thing that needs to be done is to identify the enemy and admit they are Islamic terrorists.

The brutality of ISIS was again on display when it beheaded 21 Coptic Christian prisoners. Daily, we see news of the cruelty and depravity of the Islamic terror organization and of its enormous draw of fighters from around the world. The ISIS banner grows stronger every day. The sooner the United States settles on a grand strategy and leads the world to defeat ISIS, the sooner the destructiveness of ISIS will end.

In Part 3, we will address how such a grand strategy to defeat ISIS can be implemented.

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[1] A more complete discussion of grand strategy can be found in a 4-part series called “Leadership and Grand Strategy” found here at theLeaderMaker.com:

Part 1: https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-grand-strategy-part-1/

Part 2: https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-grand-strategy-part-2/

Part 3: https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-grand-strategy-part-3/

Part 4: https://www.theleadermaker.com/leadership-grand-strategy-part-4/

[2] The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or, perhaps, more accurately just the Islamic State, is a relatively new extremely violent Islamic terrorist organization. More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.