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In-Depth Interview: Col. Andrew Bacevich Asks: If Islamic State is Defeated, What Next?

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Retired Army colonel and Boston U. professor Andrew J. Bacevich returns to our podcast, offering a combat veteran’s critical views of the war in Syria and Iraq.Bacevich, who served in Vietnam and in the first Gulf war, is the author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country and Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, and just published this commentary at TomDispatch.  Links to the Boston Globe op-ed and an October commentary are here and here.

In this conversation, Bacevich asks the “next day” question:  if the Islamic State is vanquished as threatened, what would replace it in Iraq and Syria.  He suggests it would be an equally dangerous Islamic militant group, and argues that, while the US military could dispatch IS with enough resources, that military responses–especially by the United States–are counter-productive and make things worse.

Bacevich believes that the Obama administration is softening its position that “Assad must go” before there is a political solution in Syria, and describes John Kerry’s posture on this issue as “absurd”.

We also discuss Russia’s role, the new arrangement between France and Russia that may splinter NATO, and other related matters.