In describing religion intolerance and the path to radicalism, it is necessary to touch on some grim events. Kilcullen does this in a matter of fact manner that allows the reader to gain confidence in his analysis of where the divergent interests of troubled states could take the world. Restored boundaries, justice (good luck with that one), the containment of ISIS, a restored caliphate (after all, less than a century ago there was one) – few of the players really seek these kinds of outcomes directly, their goals could easily be characterised as myopic self-interest or rooted in nostalgia.
Kilcullen devotes 20 pages comparing probable and desirable strategies. They make sense, he has after all advised governments. Yet while his strategies are sound, they will be hard work and not attractive politically. Which probably means that they won’t happen. But as he says, the alternatives are worse. Notwithstanding whether Kilcullen’s recommendations would stand the test of political reality, that does not deride from his expert analysis and very informative essay.