Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich is a former colonel in the US army and the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

A Prize from Fairyland: The CIA in Iran

Andrew Bacevich, 2 November 2017

In a narrow sense, the crisis in US-Iran relations that erupted in the early 1950s derived from three intersecting factors: oil, the end of empire and the Cold War. As Lord Ismay put it, the purpose of Nato, created in 1949, was to ‘keep the Russians out, the Americans in and Germany down’. The purpose of US policy towards Iran at the time can be reduced to a similarly neat triad: excluding Russia, showing Britain the door and keeping Iran’s government tied directly to Washington.

At no time during the sixty-plus years since General MacArthur’s downfall have existing civil-military arrangements worked as advertised. That is to say, never has the interaction of military and civilian leaders, conducted in an atmosphere of honesty and mutual respect, privileging the national interest rather than personal ambition and institutional agendas, yielded consistently enlightened policies. This remains one of the dirty little secrets the American elite is reluctant to own up to. In that respect, the clash between Truman and MacArthur represents not the resolution of a problem but a harbinger of problems to come.

Small nations, take heed: Hanoi’s War

Andrew Bacevich, 7 February 2013

Does the Cold War date from 1946 when Winston Churchill delivered his Iron Curtain speech? Or had it begun decades earlier, when Churchill sought through armed intervention to strangle the Bolshevik Revolution in its cradle? Did the conflict that Washington calls the Persian Gulf War end on 28 February 1991 when George H.W. Bush declared a unilateral ceasefire? Or did that ceasefire signify...

From The Blog
13 February 2012

Not long ago, Greg Jaffe, the Washington Post’s military correspondent, wrote that ‘this is the American era of endless war.’ Endless war manifestly does not suggest any eagerness to use military power with an eye towards liberating or pacifying countries governed by regimes that Washington happens to dislike. Post-9/11 experiments along those lines in Iraq and Afghanistan yielded little but disappointment. The American people have lost their stomach for invasions that lead to long-term military occupations, with all that implies in terms of casualties suffered and money poured down the drain. When Robert Gates said that anyone advising a future president ‘to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined’, he was codifying sentiments that had long since found favour with the American public.

A Hell of a Spot: Eisenhower and Suez

Andrew Bacevich, 16 June 2011

For the United States, what was once the strategic periphery has become the centre. On the short list of places deemed worth fighting for in the mid-20th century, Americans included Western Europe and East Asia. Any hostile power looking to control those critical regions sooner or later met with firm US resistance. In contrast, nations in the Near East or Central Asia were not worth fighting...

A key justification of the Bush administration’s purported strategy of ‘democratising’ the Middle East is the argument that democracies are pacific, and that Muslim democracies...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences