Prize-winning historian Lawrence Freedman takes an exceptionally clear-eyed look at America's strategic predicament in the Middle East, over the past 30 years.
The United States is locked into three prolonged conflicts without much hope of early resolution. Iran is pursuing a nuclear programme; the aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has seen unrelenting intercommunal violence; and the Taliban have got back into Afghanistan.
Lawrence Freedman teases out the roots of each engagement over the last thirty years and demonstrates with clarity and scholarship the influence of these conflicts upon each other.
The story is complex and often marked by great drama. First, the countries in dispute with America are not themselves natural allies; second, their enmity was not, at first, America's choice. Third, the region's problems cannot all be traced to the Arab-Israeli dispute. Unique in its focus, this book will offer not only new revelations but also remind us of what has been forgotten or has never been put in context.