The US is not just being defeated in Iraq and Syria. It is being humiliated.
On Sunday, the administration was taken by surprise for the umpteenth time when Russia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria announced an agreement, ostensibly to share intelligence about ISIS. This is part of a widening role for Russia in the region, Moscow having already established a new airbase to go along with its existing naval base in Syria. It is also a sign that Iraq is getting pulled further into the Russia-Syria-Iran axis — a new Axis of Evil — that is far more determined to keep Bashar Assad’s murderous regime in power than it is to fight ISIS. It is telling that Russia has started drone surveillance flights in Syria over areas controlled not by ISIS but by other rebel groups. In fact the more this Axis keeps Assad in place, the stronger that ISIS gets because ISIS feeds off the understandable resentment that ordinary Sunnis feel towards a regime that has been responsible for the vast majority of the killing in a conflict that has claimed over 225,000 lives.