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

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

by Philip H. Gordon


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, July 28


"Book of the Week" on Fareed Zakaria GPS
Financial Times Best Books of 2020

The definitive account of how regime change in the Middle East has proven so tempting to American policymakers for decades—and why it always seems to go wrong.

"It's a first-rate work, intelligently analyzing a complex issue, and learning the right lessons from history."
Fareed Zakaria

Since the end of World War II, the United States has set out to oust governments in the Middle East on an average of once per decadein places as diverse as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan (twice), Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The reasons for these interventions have also been extremely diverse, and the methods by which the United States pursued regime change have likewise been highly varied, ranging from diplomatic pressure alone to outright military invasion 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 the countries in question worse off than they were before.

Philip H. Gordon's Losing the Long Game is a thorough and riveting look at the U.S. experience with regime change over the past seventy years, and an insider’s view on U.S. policymaking in the region at the highest levels. It is the story of repeated U.S. interventions in the region that always started out with high hopes and often the best of intentions, but never turned out well. No future discussion of U.S. policy in the Middle East will be complete without taking into account the lessons of the past, especially at a time of intense domestic polarization and reckoning with America's standing in world.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250217035
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 167,422
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Philip H. Gordon is the Mary and David Boies senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and White House Coordinator for the Middle East from 2013-15 and as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2009-13. The author or co-author of several previous books (including Allies at War and Winning the Right War), his articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Politico, and Foreign Policy. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Regime Change Temptation 1

Chapter 1 Original Sin: Iran, 1953 25

Chapter 2 "We Won": Afghanistan, 1979-92 46

Chapter 3 "We Have Turned a Corner": Afghanistan, 2001 71

Chapter 4 "Mission Accomplished": Iraq, 2003 99

Chapter 5 "The Transition Must Begin Now": Egypt, 2011 145

Chapter 6 "We Came, We Saw, He Died": Libya, 2011 170

Chapter 7 "Assad Must Go": Syria, 2011 203

Conclusion: Why Regime Change in the Middle East Always Goes Wrong 243

Acknowledgments 277

Notes 281

Index 351

Customer Reviews