As the US assembles its multi-national coalition to wage war on the Dar-al-Islam, now would seem to be a good time to ask, what then? As in, once we've bombed what I will henceforth refer to as ISIS into the dirt, and put occupying troops on the ground, what then?
Or, if we are not going to put occupying troops on the ground, once we've bombed ISIS into the dirt and the survivors are left to poke around in the rubble, what then?
Commenter Cataline Sergius at Vox Popoli calls this Schrodinger's War:
This is a war caught up in quantum entanglement. It has both objectives and non-objectives. A desired end-state and no way to measure that end state. A state of war and non-war simultaneously.
It does however have a goal.
It is particularly important to Obama that the box containing it, isn't supposed to be opened for three years.
This adjunct law professor and community activist, just two and one-half years away from the lecture/book tour circuit where he'll earn millions, is about to be Commander-in-Chief of military operations in the Middle Eastern theater. I do not expect combat operations to begin until an overwhelming force has been assembled, just as I do not expect the Obama administration to change course until this force has been assembled, even if it requires the US commit 100,000 troops. And, it follows, Obama and the US Congress will secure military victory by any means necessary.
So, after ISIS is defeated--as they will surely be--what then?
Who will police what's left of Syria and Iraq at that point? Who will provide food, shelter, potable water and sewage to millions of Middle Easterners whose infrastructure has been destroyed?
Do we really expect the Sunnis currently paying tribute to ISIS to unite behind pluralistic governments of "Syria" and "Iraq"? (Do these states still exist?)
Who gets to be the government of what's left of these places? How do we choose them? Where do we draw the borders? Do we carve out an Assad-ruled coastal region? Who gets Aleppo? Does Kurdistan get legal recognition?
Any members of the Obama administration reading this, feel free to chime in.