Most recently, after President George W. Bush had invaded Iraq and overthrown a regime that had been fostering terrorism against us, Saudi diplomacy convinced him to occupy that country to preserve in it a favorite place for the Saudis’ favorite minority, while our foreign policy establishment convinced him to occupy it to reform it. Thus eclipsing America’s own interest produced any number of disasters. ISIS is one of them. Would the occupation of Iraq have been more in America’s interest had Saudi Arabia paid for it?
ISIS is many nations’ problem. But it is America’s by virtue of the fact that it has beheaded Americans and that it continues to inspire some Americans to kill other Americans. Therefore, regardless of what problems ISIS poses to anyone else, we are obliged to deal with the fact that ISIS not only kills us but that its continued survival kills respect for Americans, which respect is our first line of defense. ISIS destroyed, by whomever, would be good for America. But it would be best for America if Americans destroyed ISIS for what it has done to Americans, and for the world to take note of that.
Suggestions such as Trump’s, that we might leave the fight against ISIS to others unless we are paid, proceed from failure properly to identify for what we rightly hazard our lives. They reduce the American military to mercenaries and American statesmen to their contractor.