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...

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...

Social Work with Guns: America’s Wars

Andrew Bacevich, 17 December 2009

By escalating the war in Afghanistan – sending an additional 34,000 US reinforcements in order to ‘finish the job’ that President Bush began but left undone – Barack Obama has implicitly endorsed Bush’s conviction that war provides an antidote to violent anti-Western jihadism. By extension, Obama is perpetuating the effort begun in 1980 to establish American...

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...

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