To Defeat ISIS, Cooperation Is Key

The Benefits of Multilateralism

Nineveh province police forces take part in a training session conducted by the Australia Task Group coalition members at Taji military base north of Baghdad, Iraq, February 2017.  Thaier al-Sudani / REUTERS

Despite politically driven rhetoric touting the virtues of “going it alone” in foreign policy, cooperation with other nations in its various forms remains essential to countering terrorism. The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) may be on the run within Iraq and Syria, but its affiliates and other terrorist groups such as al Qaeda still represent a significant threat to international security. Because such groups span countries, communities, and borders, international cooperation to defeat them has been critical.

In a recent report, we used game theory and related methods to assess the likelihood of ISIS’ defeat. We found that if the international trend toward isolationism continues, ISIS’ destruction will become less likely—and as terrorism continues from al Qaeda and other groups, international cooperation will be just as relevant to ISIS’ successor. However, if countries and firms band together and share resources, they can succeed.


The benefits of multilateral cooperation

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