Republican and Democratic presidential candidates should be able to agree on one stark foreign policy reality: The tide hasn’t turned in the war against the Islamic State. In the 18 months that the United States has been working to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the group, it has grown to become a global force that can strike targets in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.
The self-declared “caliphate” that in June 2014 was localized in Iraq and Syria now has nearly 50 affiliates or supporting groups in 21 countries. It has declared 33 “official provinces” in 11 of those countries.
Though it has lost about 25 percent of the territory it held at its peak in Iraq and Syria, it has meanwhile established an international presence, on the ground and in cyberspace.