The Great Debate

What the Paris attacks and the fall of Rome have in common: Nothing

November 20, 2015
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The ruins of the Roman city of Ephesus in Turkey in 2007. COURTESY of Jason Fields

No, the Paris attacks don’t signal the end of Western Civilization

November 20, 2015
The Colosseum in Rome in May 2009. COURTESY of Jason Fields

The Colosseum in Rome in May 2009. COURTESY of Jason Fields

PARIS — In the days since the Paris attacks, the Place de la République — the majestic square near the Bataclan Theater, and five minutes on foot from my apartment — has become a kind of free university. At its center stands a 30-foot statue of Marianne, defiant symbol of the republic, trimmed now with candles, placards, and anti-terrorist graffiti. It is a place where France teaches itself about itself.

One phrase from Saudi clerics could begin the end of Islamic State

November 19, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Malcolm Nance

The recent terror attacks in Paris shook the world and put the focus back on Islamic State. This week on War College, we talk with American Special Operations intelligence veteran Malcolm Nance. Nance literally wrote the textbook on Iraq’s terrorists and is the executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project.

What 100,000 U.S. boots on the ground get you in Syria

November 19, 2015
U.S. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles drive through Camp Adder before departing what is now known as Imam Ali Base near Nasiriyah, Iraq  December 16, 2011. The last convoy of U.S. soldiers pulled out of Iraq on Sunday, ending their withdrawal after nearly nine years of war and military intervention that cost almost 4,500 American and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.   Picture taken December 16, 2011.  REUTERS/Mario Tama/Pool   (IRAQ - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2VDWY

U.S. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles drive through Camp Adder before departing what is now known as Imam Ali Base near Nasiriyah, Iraq December 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Tama/Pool

How Western politicians are playing into Islamic State’s hands

November 19, 2015
A migrant from Syria carries his bicycle on railway near the Greek border in Macedonia  June 17, 2015.  Hungary announced plans on Wednesday to build a four-metre-high fence along its border with Serbia to stem the flow of illegal migrants. Several thousand migrants are daily crossing the Balkans towards Hungary on their way to other European Union countries. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski  - RTX1GZ3Y

A migrant from Syria carries his bicycle on railway near the Greek border in Macedonia June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski –

Yes, the media is to blame for the GOP primary mess

November 18, 2015
Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump takes interviews in the spin room after the debate held by Fox Business Network for the top 2016 U.S. Republican candidates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 10, 2015.REUTERS/Darren Hauck - RTS6EQX

Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump n the spin room after the Republican presidential candidate debate held by Fox Business Network in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 10, 2015.REUTERS/Darren Hauck

Islamic State has become an existential threat to the West

November 18, 2015
Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. Picture taken June 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTR3WKNM

Militant Islamist fighters wave flags as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

When it comes to Vladimir Putin and Islamic State, trust but verify

November 18, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia, October 22, 2015. Putin said on Thursday he had asked his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad how he would view an armed opposition force that was genuinely ready to combat Islamic State militants. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS5OQ8

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia, October 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Eternal Paris lives on

November 17, 2015
The Eiffel Tower is lit with the blue, white and red colours of the French flag in Paris, France, November 16, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of a series of deadly attacks on Friday in the French capital.   REUTERS/Charles Platiau       - RTS7EWR

The Eiffel Tower is lit with the blue, white and red colors of the French flag in Paris, November 16, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Islamic State and the ‘management of savagery’

November 17, 2015
Islamic State militants lead what are said to be Ethiopian Christians along a beach in Wilayat Barqa, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015. The video purportedly made by Islamic State and posted on social media sites on Sunday appeared to show militants shooting and beheading about 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the video but the killings resemble past violence carried out by Islamic State, an ultra-hardline group which has expanded its reach from strongholds in Iraq and Syria to conflict-ridden Libya. Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment. Ethiopia said it had not been able to verify whether the people shown in the video were its citizens. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY VIDEO. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.  - RTR4XX9A

Islamic State militants lead what are said to be Ethiopian Christians along a beach in Wilayat Barqa, in this still from an undated video, released April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV