cover image America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

Andrew J. Bacevich. Random, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-0-553-39393-4

Bacevich (Breach of Trust), a respected historian, international relations specialist, and U.S. Army veteran, unleashes another sharp and informed critique of U.S. foreign policy. He argues that, beginning in 1980, a transformation of priorities occurred in which access to oil in the greater Middle East (a very broad term that encompasses the Middle East, Southwest Asia, parts of Central Asia, North Africa, and the Sahel) arose as a strategic imperative. As the U.S. began to develop an increased proclivity for military force, it became progressively entangled in regional developments, launching operations in Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and beyond. Bacevich ties these actions and interventions together in a clear and accessible narrative, positing that such engagements have been rife with ignorance and ambiguity. Moreover, they have largely been ineffective in their purposes and have often resulted in unintended, unforeseen, and destructive consequences that continue to plague the region. The analysis and criticisms are often piercing and rarely elucidated in mainstream echo chambers; the tone is restrained, balanced, and authoritative, rather than radical and incendiary. Politicians and policymakers would be well advised to take into account what Bacevich reveals as the potential long-term consequences of the use of military power. This exemplary work, both readable and deeply informative, will be welcomed by anybody interested in U.S. foreign policy and curious about the present-day afflictions of the greater Middle East. Maps. Agent: John Wright, John W. Wright Literary Agency. (Apr.)