Another problem is that it relieves regional players of the responsibility for protecting themselves from ISIS and rising above ongoing petty squabbles and less pressing strategic aims. “U.S. policy,” writes Freeman, “should encourage the nations of the Middle East to develop effective political, economic, and military strategies to defend and advance their own interests, not rush to assume responsibility for doing this for them.” But, instead of facing a coherent Middle East counterforce, ISIS now is “blessed with an enemy divided into antagonistic and adamantly uncooperative coalitions.”

A second principle explored by Freeman centers on correctly identifying the enemy. He makes clear that ISIS is indeed such an enemy, as it is gathering the strength to destroy the vestiges of stability in the region. Without Muslim leadership and a strategic vision, he writes:

“the existing political geography of the Arab world…faces progressive erosion and ultimate collapse. States will be pulled down, to be succeeded by warlords, as is already happening in Iraq and Syria. Degenerate and perverted forms of Islam will threaten prevailing Sunni and Shi’a religious dispensations.”