For John, BLUF: Everyone is a strategic expert. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the on-line presence The Hill we have this short article on an OpEd piece in The [Manchester] Guardian about the current US fight against ISIL. The headline is "Chelsea Manning: US can’t defeat ISIS with ‘bombs and bullets’".
Remember when Chelsea was Bradley? Remember when she was an Army Private First Class (PFC) and involved in leaking massive amounts of data to Wikileaks? Remember when she was condemned to serve 35 years at The United States Disciplinary Barracks (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas).
Well, at any rate, here is her OpEd in The [Manchester] Guardian. The Headline is "How to make Isis fall on its own sword" and the sub-headline is "Degrade and destroy? The west should try to disrupt the canny militants into self-destruction, because bombs will only backfire". This falls along the line presented by David Kilcullen in his book, The Accidental Guerrilla—In fighting the insurgents the force tends to alienate even more people, creating more insurgents (or guerrillas).
Here is the conclusion presented by Ms Manning:
Eventually, if they are properly contained, I believe that Isis will not be able to sustain itself on rapid growth alone, and will begin to fracture internally. The organization will begin to disintegrate into several smaller, uncoordinated entities – ultimately failing in their objective of creating a strong state.Regards — Cliff
But the world just needs to be disciplined enough to let the Isis fire die out on its own, intervening carefully and avoiding the cyclic trap of “mission creep”. This is certainly a lot to ask for. But Isis is wielding a sharp, heavy and very deadly double-edged sword. Now just wait for them to fall on it.