The brief version:

  • Keep an eye on the ball: the Iranian nuclear build-up is 1,000 times a greater threat than ISIS.
  • Tehran should be left to deal with this problem, which threatens its allies in Damascus and Baghdad, and potentially even Iran itself.
  • Pipes’ iron rule of war: Never initiate fighting unless prepared to do what is needed to win. (I.e., don’t in advance rule out ground troops.)
  • The search for moderate opponents to the Assad regime is chimerical.
  • Destroying oil production facilities is almost always a mistake.
  • American efforts should be limited to (1) providing assistance to the Kurds and (2) humanitarian missions.

(September 28, 2014)