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German Vice Chancellor Warns Saudi Arabia

Updated on December 9, 2015

Dealing with ISIS

As the world community continues to cope with the threat to international peace and security, which the Islamic State (ISIS) represents, policy-makers should bear an important point in mind. That is the point that the states of the Middle East and North Africa, which are directly threatened, should continue to be asked to contribute significant forces and materiel to the fight.

When the German Vice Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel warned Saudi Arabia recently, against continuing to finance religious radicals around the world, he touched upon an unsettling fact about the political chaos in the Middle East. The states in the region are directly and indirectly responsible for the causing the security challenges that we see. Thus, the international community should demand the same commitment, from the other states in the Middle East that the German Vice Chancellor seeks from Saudi Arabia.

Even though there seems to be a growing call in certain circles, upon President Obama to change his strategy for the use of force against ISIS, I continue to think that he has the correct policy in place. His strategy is informed by what I have called the Obama Doctrine, after studying the way President Obama has dealt with challenges such as the Arab Spring, and the ongoing threat from ISIS.

The Obama Doctrine states that the United States will defend its interests, whenever international crises emerge. However, it will also expect the states that are directly threatened, to contribute significant resources to finding a solution.

It is a doctrine that seems to have been informed by President H. W. Bush's strategy, when he dealt with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The states which were directly threatened by the Iraqi action had to finance the war, while the United States deployed its armed forces to expel the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. We might note that the Iraq War, which was not fought with the same kind of a strategic direction cost the United States a trillion dollars.

As long as President Obama sticks with his strategy, the probability that the United States and its allies will be drawn into another costly war into the Middle East will remain very low. Furthermore, we should expect the United States, to learn from this experience and as a result, avoid getting bogged down in expensive wars in the developing world.


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