Beginning with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the West has viewed the Middle East and North Africa primarily through the lens of radical fundamentalist political movements. That perspective has narrowed our strategic vision ever since, conflating Shiite with Sunni, evangelicals with fundamentalists, Persians with Arabs, Islamists with autocrats, and so on. But recent events in Tunisia and Algeria remind us that the vast bulk of history’s revolutions are fueled by economics, not politics. In this, the struggle for Islam’s soul is no different than that of any other civilization in this age of globalization’s rapid expansion. All of the world’s […]

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Appearing this week before The Iraq Inquiry, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his belief that former U.S. president George W. Bush was set on regime change in Iraq straight after the 9/11 attacks. The Iraq Inquiry, also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry after its chairman, Sir John Chilcot, is the ongoing British public inquiry into the United Kingdom’s role in the Iraq war.

The Obama administration has been transmitting a relatively clear set of signals regarding its policy toward Afghanistan ever since the strategic review was completed in December 2010: Progress has been made, but it is “fragile” and “reversible.” According to this argument, since U.S. and allied efforts are showing the first green shoots in terms of being able to train and deploy Afghan security forces that could end up holding territory on their own, it would be irresponsible to change course now. The current strategy must be given sufficient time to play out, even if that does not neatly dovetail with […]

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John Mearsheimer’s National Interest piece titled, “Imperial by Design,” has been getting a bit of attention, although less than I assumed it would judging from the attractiveness of its thesis in war-weary times. Although I agree in principle with the prescription, I found the diagnosis poorly argued. Mearsheimer declares that the U.S. has pursued a grand strategy of global dominance since the end of the Cold War, culminating in the Bush administration’s decision to remake the Middle East in its own image. He argues instead for a strategy of offshore balancing intended to economize American power and resources without abandoning […]