If my understanding of history serves me right, our country determined that the possibility of global nuclear war, used as a last resort, would be triggered by a decisive U.S. military victory against a protege of the USSR or Communist China, even if neither country’s armed forces were directly involved. This was very much the case when Truman held back General Ridgeway in Korea; and was repeated again when Johnson held back Westmoreland in Vietnam.
Prussian General von Clausewitz wrote, in his analysis of warfare in the post-Napoleonic era, that “war is diplomacy by other means”. That -in my opinion- is how warfare has been regarded in the post-World War era.
Colin Powell, looking back on the Vietnam war for the most part, came up with a military doctrine which bears his name. Neocons and globalists have rejected it mostly for 2 reasons: 1. It calls for the use of overwhelming force to destroy military capabilities of the opposing force within a limited period of time and then leave. 2. Leave it to others to sort out the mess left as the residue of war. No nation-building. No cultural/political transformations into “western-style” democracies. No occupations of conquered countries. No subjugation of dissident indigenous peoples.
President Trump has ordered the military to come up with a plan to destroy ISIS. We will find out just how bold and “great” our generals are, once the plan becomes known.