Ryan Crocker on Iraq, and on whether we are seeing the Arab state system fragment | Foreign Policy

Best Defense is in summer reruns. This item originally appeared on May 26, 2015.
Over the weekend I did a quick interview with Ryan Crocker, the veteran American diplomat. Here it is:
Was the current situation in Iraq inevitable?
No. Actions have consequences to the 60th order and beyond. The consequences of what we set in motion were beyond imagination. But inaction also has consequences. Our inaction since 2011 — and I mean political inaction more than military — leads us to today. The two things I learned in the Middle East over 40 years are 1) be careful what you get into, and 2) be just as careful what you propose to get out of – you don’t end a war by withdrawing from the battlefield. You just give the ground to your enemies — IS and Iran.