This last week we endured the horrific murder and beheading of reporter James Foley by ISIS. Until the last few months, many people had never heard of ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). When the public did hear of them, our President referred to them as JV (Junior Varsity). Seriously? Suddenly they are mounting an offensive for Bagdad and killing American civilians. Now thereâ??s worries that western fighters in their ranks might return to the US to wreck havoc with acts of terrorism.

I, like many of you, are wondering the same thing â?? â??Where in the hell did this come from? How did we not see this coming?â? Chances are pretty good that we did. I know people like to knock our intelligence community, but Iâ??m willing to bet someone saw ISIS as a threat. Some policy maker felt that it was better to not address it. After all, the American people are tired of battles in the Middle East. It was thought that it was best for us to have this downplayed, or ignored completely.

Donâ??t kid yourself. ISIS is a beast unlike one we have not dealt with before. They are re-forging a new religious empire in the Middle East. They are well funded and well armed. Their â??solutionâ? to those who do not side with their beliefs is to execute those defying them. Their move into the oil fields of Iraq is done to provide them with a vast source of wealth and power. ISIS will continue to grow if unchecked. It will topple existing governments, hostile and friendly, replacing them with a religious state. Eventually the US and Israel will become targets.

ISIS doesnâ??t fear us at all because our leaders have broadcast the clear message that we donâ??t want to engage in another war. America is tired of the long War on Terror. At the same time our men and women who have lost their lives to protect our homeland should not have done so in vain. We didnâ??t fight the war to lose the peaceâ?¦or did we?

The reality is we do not have a foreign policy. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Our policy is to react to events that happen around the world. Stuff happens in another country and we stand there in shock, unsure of what to do or how to respond. Look at the Ukraineâ?¦stare at the ISIS events. Things happen and we stand there threatening to unleash a torrent of harsh language and petty sanctions. Our leaders have sought to negotiate with terrorists, as they did to secure the release of Bowe Bergdahl a few months ago. And what have we gotten for it? The terrorists now want to negotiate for their hostages. I learned in raising my own kids that when you reward bad behavior, you get only more bad behavior.

Our lack of a foreign policy is an embarrassment. In the past the US has led international relations. Now we are the ones that look like the Junior Varsity.

I know that many citizens of Culpeper feel that this is a world away and that it has no bearing here. â??We have enough here to keep us occupied.â? I understand that framing â?? but that is narrow thinking. ISIS is an evolution of terrorism â?? something we have not yet faced before. They are an enemy we can ill afford to ignore. If we stick our heads in the sand and try and ignore it, we will pay a horrible price at some point down the road.

It is time for us to return to our place as a leader in the international community, rather than be in the back seat.

Blaine Pardoe is the author of numerous history books. His latest book, co-authored with his daughter Victoria Hester, is the true crime book, The Murder of Maggie Hume, currently a bestseller on You may reach him at