One definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Another might be doing the same thing in changing circumstances and expecting the same result. Previous Iraqi crises like this one have tended to dampen themselves out and resolve toward unsteady accommodation. But none of those crises occurred in the absence of American troops and interest. Will this crisis dampen itself down, or will it flare up into the renewal of communal and regional conflict, undoing all that has been accomplished over the last eight years? It would be good to see the Obama administration put its back into trying to shape the answer to that question rather than watching to see what happens.
Frederick W. Kagan is director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute. Kimberly Kagan is president of the Institute for the Study of War.
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