The U.S. needs to be cost-efficient with ISIS


Daniella Foo

When prioritizing the course of action that United States government and the other G8 states should employ in response to the Islamic State, more commonly referred to as ISIS, opportunity cost plays a large role.

These nations should be focusing on the costs associated with successfully destroying ISIS now, instead of letting ISIS fail on its own, possibly allowing time and resources for future attacks.

Taking a look at the historical, empirical evidence, we can see that the aftermath of 9/11 (including the retaliation in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars) cost the United States more than $2 to 3 trillion, according to some estimates.

When comparing Al-Qaeda and ISIS, however, we notice major discrepancies, including the fact that ISIS has its own oil revenues and controls large pieces of land. Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, had limited power due to its funding through donations. It is proven that these types of terrorist organizations have the power to conduct costly attacks regardless of their lack of any real economic capabilities or the fact that ISIS is run by corrupt criminals.

The major problem that would arise from ignoring ISIS and taking an anti-interventionist approach is the possibility of a serious attack on the United States, which 81 percent of Americans believe is highly probable.

Following this attack, a full retaliation approach would be disastrous to the United States’ economy.

Military spending and direct costs would rise exponentially. The United States’ economy can’t handle this pressure in its current state.

The government must focus on a cost-benefit analysis when choosing whether to contain or destroy ISIS.

The expansiveness of this dangerous network poses a threat to the global community, since ISIS has access to social media outlets and the media, indirectly fueling their power and agenda.

How long will we continue to let ISIS prevail when these terrorist attacks are no longer attacks, but rather massacres? ISIS has received global recognition from the recent suicide bombings in Lebanon on Nov. 13, and the Paris attacks on Nov. 14.

ISIS took responsibility for these horrific attacks and called them the “first of the storm.”

Authorities have estimated that ISIS is responsible for 1,000 deaths since January.

It has been expanding beyond its base ever since it declared itself a caliphate in June 2014.

ISIS has claimed provinces, or wilayat, in countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Libya.

Convincing evidence of a possible attack in the near future comes from Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea Den Boer’s article “A Surplus of Men, a Deficit of Peace: Security and Sex Ratios in Asia’s Largest States.”

Statistics show that between Afghanistan and Pakistan, approximately 4 million females have been calculated “missing” based on the modern expected ratio in these countries.

The term “missing” refers to the number of females that are absent in these communities, compared to if there had not been sex selection at birth.

The startling news is that through these authors’ research, there is a strong correlation between a surplus of unemployed men, referred to in these societies as “bare branches” or unmotivated, uneducated, unmarried men and violence in their societies.

ISIS has a headquarters in Pakistan, and this reveals an upward trend in unemployed, uneducated men willing to prove their strength and importance in society by joining a group of other males.

With this evidence, it is clear that the United States must take a direct approach to eliminating ISIS in the next few months.

The anti-interventionist approach is not viable.

ISIS’ power and control has grown out of hand since declaring itself a caliphate, and the United States, along with France and Russia, must continue with air strikes in the territory in its control.

In order to dismantle ISIS’ power in the region, the United States and allies should destroy its sources of revenue — its oil fields.

Eliminating its major source of revenue will prevent ISIS from purchasing weaponry and will diminish its level of recruitment by lowering credibility within the region.

When taking into account the international issues the United States is currently faced with, including the Syrian refugee crisis, immigration issues and economic policies in reference to the controversies surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership, focusing our efforts to destroy a terrorist group must be the top priority.