On Thursday, September 15, 2016 the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University hosted the debate: “Is ISIS Winning?” Debaters included Peter Bergen, Vice President, New America and Professor, Arizona State University; Sebastian Gorka, Vice President and Professor of Strategy and Irregular Warfare, Institute of World Politics; The Honorable Mary Beth Long, CEO, Metis Solutions, LLC and Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs; and Douglas A. Ollivant, ASU Senior Fellow, Future of War Project, New America. The Honorable Juan Zarate, Chairman of the Financial Integrity Network and Former Deputy National Security Advisor for CT, served as moderator.
On Thursday, September 15, 2016, The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University hosted the debate: “Is ISIS Winning?”
The debate centered on whether civilized societies are winning or losing in the global war on terrorism and particularly in the fight against ISIS.
THE KEY ARGUMENTS
Arguments that ISIS is not winning:
Arguments that ISIS is indeed winning:
Mary Beth Long pointed to the need to admit ISIS’s ability to influence people and called for developing an effective counter-ideology strategy — strategic communications and/or “psy-ops” – as an integral part of the anti-ISIS coalition effort.
Sebastian Gorka warned against “drinking the kool-aid” on ISIS: i.e., believing that the group is surely losing because the military or media say so. ISIS is merely the latest iteration of jihadism and it has arguably gotten stronger since 9/11. ISIS must be defeated by the United States, just like other totalitarian ideologies such as fascism and communism were defeated.
Douglas A. Ollivant warned against becoming complacent in the fight against terrorism after ISIS loses. Americans need to maintain pressure by focusing on the ideological component in the fight against terrorism, and using tools such as sanctions and financial monitoring.
Peter Bergen identified two opportunities: to utilize ISIS defectors to speak out against the group, and to do a better job getting out the message that ISIS is indeed on a losing streak.
Vice President, New America Foundation and Professor, Arizona State University
ASU Senior Fellow, Future of War Project, New America Foundation
Vice President and Professor of Strategy and Irregular Warfare, Institute of World Politics
CEO, Metis Solutions, LLC, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs
Chairman of the Financial Integrity Network, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Counter-Terrorism