Planning a strategy for a scenario where the most extreme party currently exploiting the Mideast's sectarian rivalries poses a threat to American regional interests and strategic allies should have been part of the overall national security planning process. Such a strategy would invariably have to consider how to build Congressional and public support for a range of measures. In a region with complex sectarian fault lines and ongoing sectarian conflicts, one cannot overstate the importance of contingency planning. The more fluid or more uncertain events are, the more essential it is to undertake rigorous contingency planning for scenarios that pose the largest short-term risks or have the largest long-term implications for American interests and strategic American allies. IMO, the last two Administrations (Bush and Obama) have done an inadequate job with such planning and were put in positions of largely having to react to events (insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, lack of preparedness when the Arab Spring proved to be a sectarian not democratic phenomenon, renewed civil strife in Iraq, exploitation of eroding central authority by extreme actors such as Al Nusra and ISIS, etc) in an excessively ad hoc fashion. Over the medium-term and beyond, reaction is not a substitute for strategy and overreliance on ad hoc responses to events raises the costs of safeguarding American interests and/or erodes the nation's ability to do so.