In an interview with, Andrew Bacevich, the author of 'America’s War for the Greater Middle East', talks about the policies of the United States in the Middle East. Here's the full text of the interview:

What changed after the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour? Do you think it was a great achievement for the United States? What’s your take on such events?

Andrew Bacevich: Assassination rarely if ever provides a sound basis for policy. It certainly doesn't in this case. The U.S. reliance on assassination as a response to violent jihadism amounts to an admission of strategic bankruptcy.

How do you analyze President Obama’s legacy in Islamic world? Did he get involved in less conflicts compared former President Bush? How do you compare the foreign policies of the two?

Andrew Bacevich: Obama continued by other means the so-called Global War on Terrorism initiated by Bush. He has reduced to costs paid by the United States. He has been no more successful than Bush was in devising a coherent policy to secure U.S. interests in the Islamic world.

Where do all these conflicts in the Middle East come from? What’s the major force behind them?

Andrew Bacevich: There is no simple answer to this question. The sources of conflict are several.  Among the most important are internal divisions within Islam; geopolitical rivalry between regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Iran; the existence of Israel; the absence of enlightened local leadership; economic underdevelopment; the folly of U.S. military intervention; and the pernicious legacy of European colonialism.

How do you analyze the role of the United States in fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria? Has Washington been successful?

Andrew Bacevich: The U.S.-backed campaign is making gains on the ground. But destroying ISIS, however desirable, will not restore stability to the region.

In your latest book, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, you argue that America’s costly military interventions can only be understood when seeing the seemingly discrete events as part of a single war. Would you explain that argument?

Andrew Bacevich: In 1980, Jimmy Carter promulgated the Carter Doctrine and thereby initiated the wholesale militarization of U.S. policy across much of the Greater Middle East. An endless series of armed interventions ensued, justified by a variety of aims, but achieving none. It's time to recognize U.S. military efforts in the region as constituting a single, misguided war. 


Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins. He is the author of the new book “America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.”