The diplomatic historian examines the ideas, policies and actions that led from Vietnam to the Iraq War and America's disastrous role in the Middle East.
"What will stand out one day is not George W. Bush's uniqueness but the continuum from the Carter doctrine to 'shock and awe' in 2003." --from The Long Road to Baghdad
In this revealing narrative of America's path to its "new longest war," one of the nation's premier diplomatic historians excavates the deep historical roots of the US misadventure in Iraq. Lloyd Gardner's sweeping and authoritative narrative places the Iraq War in the context of US foreign policy since Vietnam, casting the conflict as a chapter in a much broader story--in sharp contrast to the dominant narrative, which focus almost exclusively on the actions of the Bush Administration in the months leading up to the invasion.
Gardner illuminates a vital historical thread connecting Walt Whitman Rostow's defense of US intervention in Southeast Asia, Zbigniew Brzezinski's attempts to project American power into the "arc of crisis" (with Iran at its center), and the efforts of two Bush administrations, in separate Iraq wars, to establish a "landing zone" in that critically important region. Far more disturbing than a simple conspiracy to secure oil, Gardner's account explains the Iraq War as the necessary outcome of a half-century of doomed US policies.
"A vital primer to the slow-motion conflagration of American foreign policy." --Kirkus Reviews