Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East

November 30, 2020
Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East

The definitive account of how regime change in theMiddle East has proven so tempting to American policymakers fordecades—and why it always seems to go wrong."Must reading—by someone who saw it first-hand—for allinterested in America's foreign policy and its place in theworld."—Robin WrightSince the end of World War II, the United States has set out tooust governments in the Middle East on an average of once perdecade—in places as diverse as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan (twice),Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The reasons for these interventions havealso been extremely diverse, and the methods by which the UnitedStates pursued regime change have likewise been highly varied,ranging from diplomatic pressure alone to outright militaryinvasion and occupation. What is common to all the operations,however, is that they failed to achieve their ultimate goals,produced a range of unintended and even catastrophic consequences,carried heavy financial and human costs, and in many cases left thecountries in question worse off than they were before.Philip H. Gordon's Losing the Long Game is a thorough andriveting look at the U.S. experience with regime change over thepast seventy years, and an insider's view on U.S. policymaking inthe region at the highest levels. It is the story of repeated U.S.interventions in the region that always started out with high hopesand often the best of intentions, but never turned out well. Nofuture discussion of U.S. policy in the Middle East will becomplete without taking into account the lessons of the past,especially at a time of intense domestic polarization and reckoningwith America's standing in world.