* Note: All views and opinions are those of the author only.
When it comes to American foreign policy, the current non-strategy of "leading from behind" has failed again, just as it has throughout U.S. history.
The ongoing crisis with ISIS - the most radical Islamist terrorist group worldwide - is no different. America cannot afford to sit idly by while the self-proclaimed Islamic State continues carving out contiguous chunks of territory across Syria and Iraq.
As political philosopher and conservative statesman Edmund Burke once remarked, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
America and the international community would be wise to heed Burke's warning regarding the evil of ISIS. The Islamic State leaves it's victims with two choices: either join them or die.
That's why many Americans were shocked and dismayed when President Barack Obama recently announced to the world, "We don't have a strategy yet" to address ISIS.
To the contrary, the United States must take the lead in forcefully eliminating ISIS without further delay - with or without the approval of Congress. This means leaving all military options on the table rather than telegraphing our intentions or indifference.
Moreover, while it makes sense for America to assemble a broad-based coalition to eliminate ISIS over the long run, it is nonsensical for the Obama administration to procrastinate militarily until that time arrives.
Some of our global allies, such as Great Britain and Australia, are ready to act in unison with America to quell the ISIS threat. Moreover, our Middle East allies - including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and others - are all patiently waiting for decisive U.S. military action against ISIS in Syria.
Inaction in Syria for years has already belittled America's once-strong standing as the world's leading military power, one that defends, upholds and fosters freedom and human rights while preventing mass atrocities against innocent civilians.
"Beyond a Terrorist Group"
One of the only top administration officials to clearly lay out the full extent of the ISIS threat has been the bluntly spoken Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. He recently remarked that ISIS is:
Beyond anything that we've seen...As sophisticated and well-funded as any [terrorist] group that we've seen."And
"They're beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded."
Thus it appears incomprehensible that America lacks a comprehensive military and diplomatic strategy addressing the ISIS threat, particularly with the continuing global focus on national security and counter-terrorism.
The president's unfortunate rhetorical blunder about no U.S. strategy is problematic on multiple levels. To wit:
1) It signals to ISIS that it basically has the green-light to continue consolidating power and territory in Syria with free reign - in addition to getting away with murdering thousands of innocent civilians, including the brutal execution of an American journalist.
2) It signals to a worried world and our Middle East allies that the United States is reluctant or incompetent to challenge the worst foreign terrorist threat since 9/11 and Osama bin Laden.
In fact, many counter-terrorism experts have reportedly said that ISIS dwarfs al Qaeda in terms of military might, money and recruiting power, as Secretary Hagel pointed out. Moreover, ISIS is attracting Westerners who are radicalized by the terrorist group's extremist ideology and grand plan to conquer the Middle East and the world via a so-called caliphate.
Threat to the Homeland
U.S. and British citizens recruited by ISIS have international passports to travel to America and other Western countries undetected. This may result in egregious mass terrorist attacks on our homeland through the use of chemical or biological weapons, a crude nuclear device, or so-called dirty bombs, among other weapons of mass destruction.
Therefore, it appears illogical that U.S. warplanes are permitted to attack ISIS strongholds in Iraq - to protect the Mosul Dam and key cities, for example - but preventing from fighting ISIS in Syria. ISIS territory in Syria accounts for a significant swath of the land carved out by the Islamic State in the heart of the Middle East.
The American public and citizens of the world want clarity from President Obama about quelling the ISIS crisis - not obfuscation and pussyfooting.
There is absolutely no reason why the USA should appear like a "deer stuck in the headlights" when it comes to addressing and eliminating the ISIS threat. It's almost unthinkable for America to allow a ruthless terrorist state to exist and expand in the Middle East to recruit, plan and carry out mass attacks against American national security interests and, ultimately, the U.S. homeland.
Such a conspicuous lack of force by the administration against the world's most dangerous terrorist group is not only embarrassing, but dangerous. Our closest ally, Great Britain, for example, just raised its own terrorist threat level because of alleged ISIS plots to terrorize the UK, as reported Friday by Poitix.
Nevertheless, as ABC News and other media have reported, "U.S. military action in Syria is not happening any time soon". Again, if accurate, this would be nothing less than a strategic foreign policy blunder of potentially historic proportions.
It's bad enough that ISIS wasn't contained and eliminated at the outset when Syria was engulfed by civil war. However, the ISIS threat will certainly grow worse if America sheepishly stands on the sidelines in Syria.
Do Americans want to wait for decisive U.S. military action against ISIS until another 9/11-style mass terrorist attack hits the homeland like a sucker punch to the gut?
I think not. Rather, Americans want real results, not empty rhetoric, when it comes to tackling terrorism. That's why the time for bold and decisive military force to eliminate ISIS is now.
David B. Grinberg (@DBGrinberg) is an independent Washington, D.C.-based writer who has worked in the Clinton White House and the Office of the House Majority Leader of Congress, in addition to global political consulting firms and the news media.