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Concerns Rise As Conflict Rages In Iraq15:01

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Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a second day of talks in Iraq with a visit to the autonomous Kurdish region in the northern part of the country. Kerry is working on the diplomatic effort to stem the tide of ISIS, the Sunni militant group Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria.

ISIS is battling the forces of the Shiite-led government and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. There are conflicting reports today about who's in control of the country's largest oil refinery, as the fighting continues.

Andrew Bacevich, veteran and professor of international relations and history, joined Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson to provide an analysis of the situation in Iraq and how the U.S. has responded so far, sending in 300 military advisers and pressing Iraq to form a new government.

Andrew Bacevich is a professor of international relations at Boston University. (Kalman Zabarsky)
Andrew Bacevich is a professor of international relations at Boston University. (Kalman Zabarsky)

Bacevich originally opposed the war in Iraq and is now worried that the U.S. could become more involved in the country today. He wonders about the United States' ability to make a difference there.

"What capacity do we have to fix what we've broken? I'd judge our capacity as pretty limited," he said.

He also wonders what happens if President Obama’s approach to the crisis in Iraq, using diplomacy and sending U.S. military advisers, doesn't help.

"The president’s problem is, of course, going to be that having declared that this is a very, very important issue, a threat to our own security, and having now made a small military investment that fails, then what do you do? And the temptation is going to be very strong to escalate."


  • Andrew Bacevich, retired Army colonel and veteran of the Vietnam War. He's a professor of international relations and history at Boston University's Pardee School of Global Studies.

This segment aired on June 24, 2014.

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