Friday January 22, 2016
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter is a man who knows that actions speak far louder than words.
That’s why when Washington’s feud with China over the latter’s land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea reached a boiling point last year, Carter made a trip to the Pacific and had someone snap this picture of him riding in a helicopter with an aircraft carrier visible in the background.
All jokes aside, Carter is in somewhat of a tough spot. America’s disastrous foreign policy blunders in Ukraine, Syria, and Iraq and Washington’s bungled attempts to deal with an ascendant China, a resurgent Russia, and an Iran which is marking a triumphant return to the world stage, have left the defense chief with a laundry list of problems.
At the top of that list is ISIS.
Thanks to the fact that the group is the most effective force when it comes to destabilizing the Assad regime (an explicit foreign policy goal of the US and its regional allies) and thanks to the fact that the Russian intervention means the day will never come when Islamic State takes Damascus thus green-lighting a US ground invasion to “liberate” Syria, Washington has been forced to choose between either eliminating the group or keeping them around in hopes the Russians simply get bogged down and decide to let Assad fend for himself again.