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A Flawed Approached to Defeating ISIS

Dustin Berna, Ph.D.

Dustin Berna, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. Nearly 11,000 Americans have died since September 11, 2001 at the hands of Islamic extremists or in an attempt to defeat them. We want an end to the violence; however, they’ll be no end until ISIS is obliterated.The President says we’re at war, yet his four-prong strategy to defeat ISIS is inherently flawed and is only a continuation of what we’ve done in the past and ISIS is the consequence of what we have done.

What we must do is end the indecisiveness and weakness associated with the current administration’s foreign policy and overcome the ignorant and haphazard ideas of democracy and occupation that still plague us from the previous administration.The solution is forging a new foreign policy based on the governing principles of Presidents Clinton and Reagan.

We must exemplify the strength and rationality of Reagan and incorporate Clinton’s common sense and logic.Both presidencies put our national security and the lives of Americans before the liberal ideas of democracy and human rights.I’m not saying the United States shouldn’t support democratic movements or facilitate human rights but we must not jeopardize our citizens and national interests in doing so. To do this, we must create multiple states in Iraq and Syria just as President Clinton did in Yugoslavia.

As for President Obama’s four-point plan, systematic air strikes will destroy ISIS weapons and military stockpiles. However, the collateral destruction and civilian deaths will facilitate more support for ISIS.Furthermore, the oil wealth that is being generated has made ISIS wealthier than any fundamentalist movement or terrorist organization in history. With countries willing to buy oil from them there is no foreseeable end to its wealth.

Increased support to anti-ISIS forces on the ground is important, but where are we going to find them? The Sunni support them in massive numbers and no Islamic state is willing to send troops into a war zone.The point of demarcation between moderates and ISIS is impossible to distinguish unless on the ground.

Increased intelligence and counter-terrorism efforts are fundamental.Thousands of Westerners have joined ISIS with their passports and travel virtually unchecked.We must protect our homeland and to do this, these individuals must be kept under surveillance or detained.

It’s imperative that we send humanitarian aid to the populations displaced by the violence.However, ISIS is already providing aid to the Sunni population.We must send aid after the fall of ISIS.

As for moving forward, we must do what we’ve not done in the past; specifically, develop diplomatic relations with Iran and seek their help in defeating ISIS. We must remember that ISIS also seeks the destruction of Iran.We became partners with the Soviet Union to defeat Nazism; we can surely work with the Iranians to defeat ISIS.

We must educate ourselves in regards to what we are dealing with if we are going to defeat them. Fourteen hundred years ago Muhammad and his followers marched across a polytheistic world and were seen as liberators.They removed suppressive hereditary rulers, liberated women and freed slaves; they fed the hungry, provided land for the landless, gave individuals an identity and provided hope that one’s children would be free. The goal of ISIS is to return to this; however, their view of history is warped and their actions are in compete contradiction to founding principles of the Muslim faith.

Not since Hitler’s Nazism has there been an ideology so fueled with hate, intolerance, endless financial resources, this militarized, this organized, and backed by a naive population searching for identity and vengeance.More Americans will die if we do not develop a more drastic foreign policy to obliterate ISIS.


Dustin Berna, Ph.D.
Nova Southeastern University


About the Author: Dustin Berna, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Conflict Resolution and Political Science at Nova Southeastern University’s GraduateSchool of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS.) He is also the Director of Assessment and Planning for NSU’s Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Berna’s research specializations include Middle Eastern politics, Islamic fundamentalism, religious extremism, social movements, terrorism, and political institutions. He has taught classes on the Iraq War, Islamic politics, Middle Eastern politics, terrorism, political violence, international relations, U.S. foreign policy, the politics of developing states, revolutions, international negotiation and violence prevention. Berna has written numerous articles on topics that range from terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism to Iranian political institutions and Islamic democracy. Berna has experience working with print and broadcast media.

Berna earned his doctorate from the University of New Orleans in 2008. His two major fields of study were Middle Eastern politics and international relations. American political institutions were third and minor field. His dissertation was a quantitative study that evaluated the causes and electoral success of Islamic fundamentalist movements. Berna has collected and coded every Islamic fundamentalist group that is, or has been, in operation in the Islamic world since 1970.