Two potent forces power the Ebola and ISIS epidemics that the media are ignoring. They're (1) breakdown of governing authority, and (2) dissolution of "social capital" -- ties of trust and cooperation that empower individuals, families, and others to forge coalitions and tackle common problems at the community level.
ISIL leaders have connections in the black market of international finance. The real intelligence needed to understand what is going on in the region is not targets for the U.S. Air Force, but the type of financial intelligence General Petraeus tasked General McMaster to find in Afghanistan in 2010.
As an American citizen who one day hopes to become a public servant and who frequently monitors our nation's foreign policy, I continue to wish you and your colleagues in the State Department, Pentagon, and intelligence community the best of luck. America's security depends on the efforts that you make in the weeks ahead.
Obama's opponents have cynically treated these challenges as political footballs, sweeping them into their relentless narrative of a weak, vacillating and dangerous president and a feckless NATO. But NATO's leaders impressively rallied around the administration's plans, approving a sweeping series of actions that should -- but probably won't -- quiet the critics.
When crises emerge, critics charge that Obama should act more quickly and more aggressively, or they argue that no US interests are involved and the US should decline any intervention. Headlines often claim that the administration has no strategy, no doctrine, or no organizing principle. But for those who study the field, Obama's is an easily recognizable strategy.