To put things in simple terms, the United States foreign policy in Iraq during the last dozen years has been nothing short of a train wreck. First, George. W Bush, under false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction, invaded Iraq in 2003, and in doing so disposed of the all- powerful leadership of Saddam Hussein. Then, Barrack Obama, through his pacifist and popularity inspired policy, considering the changed and unstable Iraqi domestic circumstances at the time, irresponsibly pulled all US troops out of Iraq. This action, whilst being popular at the time, in hindsight has proved disastrous, as a weak and ill prepared Iraqi government has since witnessed its authority and legitimacy being stripped by various rebel groups, including the Islamic State.
The Islamic State has clearly taken advantage of this power vacuum that was created in Iraq by the United States, allowing it to pillage and slaughter its way to a position in which it now controls much of the Northern part of the country.
The example of Iraq, as well as the current chaos that exists in Libya, indicates that despite the good intentions that the US and its Western allies may pursue, attempts to bring down Middle Eastern dictators for the cause of human rights have only led to further violations of human rights, violence and instability. The West is finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that despite America intending to overthrow the Assad government merely 2 years ago, it may now have to support this same government against the murderous Islamic State. Russia has already committed thousands of troops to defeat the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, supporting President Assad, and it is time that the United States did something similar.
The United States may not have to exercise enormous numbers of troops into the region, as much of the task may be left with Russia. If this occurs, there is a strong possibility that Putin’s desire to secure access to the Mediterranean, will be realized. With old rivalries being reunited, it is understandable for America to be reluctant in allowing Russia to hold further influence in the Middle East.
However for two major reasons, the United States must put these concerns aside, and either directly or indirectly support the Russian action that aims to properly destroy and degrade the Islamic State.
Firstly, if America is to learn anything of its mistakes in the past, it should stop involving itself in costly, unnecessary wars, in attempts to overthrow existing regimes, particularly when potential exists for such action to worsen the situation.
Moreover, there is no greater ideological enemy that the United States can ever face than the Islamic State, and opposition to it is a shared principle between the two old Cold war rivals.