The tragic acts of terrorism committed in Paris on Friday have led to renewed calls for a more aggressive campaign against ISIS. Such calls are understandable given the shock and horror which always follows such barbarism. But simple revenge risks repeating the strategic mistakes of the last decade.
As we learned from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, military victory is easy. Securing the peace can be almost impossible. If we truly want to defeat ISIS, we must focus not on military victory, but on what comes after ISIS. Without resolution of the diplomatic and political conflicts which have allowed ISIS to bloom, what replaces it could be just as bad—or worse.

The events in Paris, the deadliest terrorist attacks in the West since 2004’s Madrid train bombing, were horrifying. In a free society, we can reduce the likelihood of such attacks, but we can never achieve absolute safety. In light of such an attack, fear is unavoidable and calls to respond with overwhelming force are inevitable.