Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East
October 22, 2020
2:00pm – 3:00pm
Since the end of World War II, the United States has set out to oust governments in the Middle East on an average of once per decade―in places as diverse as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan (twice), Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The reasons for these interventions have also been extremely diverse, and the methods by which the United States pursued regime change have likewise been highly varied, ranging from diplomatic pressure alone to outright military invasion and occupation. What is common to all the operations, however, is that they failed to achieve their ultimate goals, produced a range of unintended and even catastrophic consequences, carried heavy financial and human costs, and in many cases left the countries in question worse off than they were before.
Philip H. Gordon’s Losing the Long Game is a thorough and riveting look at the U.S. experience with regime change over the past seventy years, and an insider’s view on U.S. policymaking in the region at the highest levels. It is the story of repeated U.S. interventions in the region that always started out with high hopes and often the best of intentions, but never turned out well. No future discussion of U.S. policy in the Middle East will be complete without taking into account the lessons of the past, especially at a time of intense domestic polarization and reckoning with America’s standing in world.
The SETA Foundation at Washington DC is pleased to host the author for a discussion of his new book.
Philip Gordon, Mary and David Boies Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations
Kadir Ustun, Executive Director, The SETA Foundation at Washington DC
Philip H. Gordon is the Mary and David Boies senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013 to 2015. As the most senior White House official focused on the greater Middle East, he worked closely with the president, secretary of state, and national security advisor on issues including the Iranian nuclear program, Middle East peace negotiations, the conflict in Syria, security in Iraq, U.S. relations with the gulf states, the democratic transitions in North Africa, and bilateral relations with Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon. He chaired numerous interagency processes, regularly engaged foreign leaders, and directed a staff of some twenty directors and other national security specialists. Gordon is a senior advisor to the Albright Stonebridge Group.
Kilic Bugra Kanat is the Research Director at the SETA Foundation at Washington DC. He is also Assistant Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Erie. Dr. Kanat received his PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in Political Science from Syracuse University; a Master’s in International Affairs from Marquette University. Dr. Kanat’s writings have appeared in Foreign Policy, Insight Turkey, The Diplomat, Middle East Policy, Arab Studies Quarterly, Mediterranean Quarterly, Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. He is a columnist at Daily Sabah. He is the author of A Tale of Four Augusts: Obama’s Syria Policy.
The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) at Washington, D.C. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent, nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to innovative studies on national, regional, and international issues concerning Turkey and US-Turkey relations.