I spoke with Radio France International on Tuesday about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s declaration, at a conference in Kuwait, that the fight against the Islamic State is not over as he called for unity in the campaign.

While noting that ISIS is an ongoing threat, I explained that Washington is using the group as a sideshow away from main events in countries such as Iraq and Syria. It is far easier to proclaim a battle with the Islamic State — and, in Donald Trump’s assertions, “victory” — than it is to deal with the core issues around the Syrian civil war and the Iraqi Government’s difficulties over discrimination, corruption, and delivery of services.

The discussion also notes how the US is further stepping back from those issues with its “halfway house” that it will pursue “stablilization” but not “reconstruction”.