If Obama is serious about effectively containing Isis, much less ultimately defeating it, he's going to have to let go of some very non-serious thinking.
As everyone at GlobalPost and the larger community of journalists who cover conflict struggle with the news, there is deep soul-searching going on about what we do, how we do it and whether the risks are worth it.
If the slaughter of over 1,000 Iraqi soldiers, 700 Syrian tribesmen, and the potential massacre of tens of thousands of Yazidis did not awake Americans the world over to the threat that the Islamic State poses to their way of life, then perhaps James Foley's death will serve that purpose.
The brutal Assad regime, under father Hafez and son Bashar, has perpetrated some appalling atrocities and we can't be proud of cooperating with it, but it is the only force in the region capable of defeating ISIL.
The U.S. has ensured that ISIS can reinforce its fighters in Iraq from Syria and vice versa. So far, Washington has been successful in escaping blame for the rise of ISIS by putting all the blame on the Iraqi government. In fact, it has created a situation in which ISIS can survive and may well flourish.
For far too long, Europeans have believed in the false notion of "Fortress Europe," that crises in its neighborhood are distant and can somehow be contained. The reality is that modern security threats know few borders.
The extraordinary rise of the extremist jihadi Islamic State (IS) has left the world's governments scrambling to devise ways to counter the group. However, at least in northern Iraq, its position is more vulnerable than is commonly assumed.
The United States would save much blood, toil, tears, and sweat defeating ISIS decisively now rather than later. Yet Obama's pinprick response devoid of strategic rationale will invite the maximum contempt for American resolve.
From the crucible of the Great War that was sprinting towards a full boil 100 years ago this month, these chapters, taken together, illuminate how that war continues to shape not only our world in a lofty, conceptual way, but in today's headlines.
The psychological trauma inflicted when children lose their parents, see their homes destroyed, or experience torture, is not easily alleviated, particularly when they have to remain in the stressful and unfamiliar environment of a refugee camp. Save the Children's staff see the signs of this in places like Syria and Gaza, from night terrors and bed wetting to children who refuse to speak.
Late in 2012, I attended a small briefing with a senior White House security official. Each of the dozen people there had a chance to speak, and most took the opportunity to lobby for something. I asked this question: Who are we rooting for in Syria?
Clutching a teddy bear in one arm and a balloon in another, the little boy with a deep scar under his eye looked up and asked in Arabic, very gently... almost a whisper: "Khala (aunt) Rym. Can I have toothpaste for my sisters and I?"
Every day the news seems to suggest the World is getting scarier and more dangerous. Iraq, Gaza, Syria, South Sudan - the list goes on. For me reading the news is never a shock. I spend my working life immersed in the horrors, the violence and the poverty that blight the globe.
When two aid workers were shot dead in Afghanistan last month, the world's media focused its attention on the dangers of 21st century humanitarianism and the challenges that assistance agencies face in protecting their personnel.
The violence that spun out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria grabbed the headlines but the real problem received little attention -- lack of opportunity. This lack of opportunity for the people of the Middle East is an issue the West largely ignored and partly caused.
Iran, which bears tremendous political, social and economic influence in Iraq and is considered to be the most significant foreign force in Baghdad, has made a critical tactical shift with regards to its foreign policy towards the sectarian conflict, civil war, rise of the Islamic State, and other affiliated extremist Sunni insurgencies in Iraq.