Foreign Affairs
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Why the Obsession with ISIS?

Jeffrey Schulman writes TFO’s weekly security column “In Defense of Defense” and is a former writer for The Varsity. His blog Thoughts can be found at jeffreyeschulman.blogspot.com

Jeffrey Schulman writes TFO’s weekly security column “In Defense of Defense” and is a former writer for The Varsity. His blog Thoughts can be found at jeffreyeschulman.blogspot.com

Recent headlines have centered around the potential parameters of the AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force) being considered by the U.S. Congress. While all parties seem to agree on the necessity of waging a forceful campaign against ISIS whackos, there are substantial differences regarding the potential use of ground troops. What makes no sense is the broad consensus in favour of a large-scale air campaign and the obsession with the situation amongst pundits. ISIS may be subhuman barbarians but that does not change the fact that they are relatively podunk and insignificant in a macro context. Their Syrian holdings would be filled with war and genocide anyway while the poor and unpopulous parts of Iraq they control are not of substantial importance to anyone. The obsession with ISIS probably results from their attention grabbing stunts and the fact that once many people are talking about something others continue to do so. Hence, ISIS is more of a Lord Voldemort than a Josef Stalin. They seem more frightening rather than threatening. However, this merely justifies the media’s senseless obsession, not the Pentagon’s errors. The situation in Ukraine threatens large-scale warfare between Russia and NATO along with the potential for large scale ethnic cleansing in previously peaceful parts of Eastern Europe. This is one of many areas more deserving of resources than an already anarchic area in a strategically irrelevant region. Let’s scale down our efforts against ISIS.

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