My, how our foreign policy has changed. In fact, in just the last four months it's done a complete 180-degree turnabout, and according to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, our strategy for defeating ISIS comprises nothing less than "annihilation tactics."
"Our strategy right now is to accelerate the campaign against ISIS. It is a threat to all civilized nations," Mattis said in an interview Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation."
"Bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot."
"We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them. [...] Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We're not going to allow them to do so. We're going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate." [...]
"You see that right now, for example, in western Mosul that is surrounded and the Iraqi-- security forces are moving against them," he said. "Tal Afar is now surrounded. We have got efforts underway right now to surround their self-declared caliphate capital of Raqqa. That surrounding operation is going on. And once surrounded, then we'll go in and clean them out."
"Once ISIS is defeated -- there's a larger effort underway to make certain that we don't just sprout a new enemy," Mattis said. "We know ISIS is going to go down. We've had success on the battlefield. We've freed millions of people from being under their control, and not one inch of that ground that ISIS has lost has ISIS regained."
"It shows the effectiveness of what we're doing," Mattis continued. "However, there are larger currents, there are larger confrontations in this part of the world, and we cannot be blind to those. That is why they met in Washington under Secretary (of State) Tillerson's effort to carry out President Trump's strategy to make certain we don't just clean out this enemy and end up with a new enemy in the same area."
Sec. Mattis conceded that the battle with ISIS will be long-enduring, but at least it will be a fight. That's a far cry from the preceding administration's policy of appeasement.