Spiegel Online International ran an interview with General Mike Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, November 29, 2015, which offers some excellent insights into the challenges with defeating the Islamic State. It’s rare to find an American general who will candidly state the truth, so I find General Flynn’s “get real” approach, a breath of fresh air. The interview is in English. Here are a few takeaways:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is the Balkans mission a model for the current war?
Flynn: We can learn some lessons from the Balkans. Strategically, I envision a breakup of the Middle East crisis area into sectors in the way we did back then, with certain nations taking responsibility for these sectors. In addition, we would need a coalition military command structure and, on a political level, the United Nations must be involved. The United States could take one sector, Russia as well and the Europeans another one. The Arabs must be involved in that sort of military operation, as well, and must be part of every sector. With this model, you would have opportunities — Russia, for example, must use its influence on Iran to have Tehran back out of Syria and other proxy efforts in the region.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: For that to happen, the West would have to cooperate fully with the Russians.
Flynn: We have to work constructively with Russia. Whether we like it or not, Russia made a decision to be there (in Syria) and to act militarily. They are there, and this has dramatically changed the dynamic. So you can’t say Russia is bad, they have to go home. It’s not going to happen. Get real. Look at what happened in the past few days: The president of France asked the US for help militarily (after the Paris attacks). That’s really weird to me, as an American. We should have been there first and offered support. Now he is flying to Moscow and asking Putin for help.
(Hat tip to Debra Heine, at PJ Media, who posted a more extensive piece on General Flynn’s interview)