Fareed speaks with Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department during George W. Bush's first term, about how the U.S. should respond to the recent advances made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Watch the video for the full interview.
What are the dangers, and what would you do?
I think the horse has left the barn. And by that I mean I think it's too late for the kind of diplomacy that Ryan Crocker is talking about as desirable as it might have been months or years ago. I also think essentially the idea of an Iraq that's a united functioning country – good idea, but again I think that's essentially over.
So at this point, what I would focus on is making the best of a terrible situation. I would put pressure on this ISIS group in Syria. It's long since time to provide serious help to alternative opposition elements in Syria so they don't have the luxury of just focusing on Iraq.
I would accept the fact that the Kurdish area of the north is now effectively an independent state. I would make sure they had essentially what they need. I would provide economic support for Jordan, which is staggering under the enormous refugee burden. I would rethink our policy towards Afghanistan, the last thing we want to do now is not have a residual force there. We ought to have learned the lesson here in Iraq.
And I think we could use airstrikes, as Ryan says, but quite honestly, the most it's going to do is delay things. It's not going to be decisive, it's not going to be lasting.