politics | February 10, 2013

Andrew Bacevich: Has 30 Years Of Middle Eastern Intervention Been Worth It?

Andrew Bacevich wants to know whether United States government have achieved their goals in the Middle East over the past 30 years. It's a concern that a great deal of Americans arguably share. As he writes in a new article, "following the promulgation of the Carter Doctrine in 1980, the Pentagon came to see the Islamic world as its principle "target"—the region demanding the greatest attention and the focus of U.S. military activities." Prior to the 1980's, Bacevich says that American involvement in the region was marginal and there was little loss of life for American soldiers. Since the 1990's, the American presence overseas has increased rapidly and "virtually no Americans soldiers have been killed anywhere except in the Greater Middle East." What Bacevich wonders is whether it's all been worth it.

Has the Greater Middle East become more stable, or less thanks to American involvement? Has America's reputation improved in the countries they have been flexing their military muscle in front of? Or, as Bacevich worries, have the past 30 years of military intervention only "fueled anti-Americanism?" Bacevich says these are pressing questions that desperately need to be answered by the current administration. The responses will be crucial in determining whether U.S. international policy should continue in the same direction it has been going—or if it's time to consider that dedicated Middle Eastern military involvement is not the best course of action for the nation. With death tolls rising, the country needs to determine if the wars they are waging are worth the costs.

Bacevich, a retired Colonel and military scholar, currently sits on the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of The Limits of Power and Washington Rules and is a Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A popular military speaker, he combines first hand experience with academic research to give a detailed analysis of current military policies. In his speeches, he helps audiences understand the complexities of foreign relations. He shows them a detailed picture of what the national doctrine looks like today—and explores where it may go in the future.

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