War for the Greater Middle East

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Course Date: 24 September 2014 to 12 November 2014 (7 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

Military historian Andrew Bacevich recounts the failed U.S. military effort over several decades to "fix" the Islamic world, explaining what went wrong and why.

Course Instructors

Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich is the Chair of International Relations and 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 University. Bacevich is the author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013).His previous books include Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010); The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008); The Long War: A New History of US National Security Policy since World War II (2007) (editor); The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005); and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy (2002). His essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and general interest publications, including The Wilson Quarterly, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Nation, and The New Republic. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers.

Mark Kukis

Mark Kukis is a PhD student in American history and international relations at Boston University. Kukis worked for a decade as a journalist before undertaking doctoral studies, including three years as a correspondent for Time magazine in Iraq. His writing has also appeared in the New Republic and Salon, among other places. His most recent book is Voices from Iraq: A People’s History, 2003-2009 (Columbia University Press, 2011), an oral history of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as told by Iraqis. As an undergraduate Kukis studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Grace Chang

Grace Chang is a Master's student in international relations and Professor Bacevich's graduate assistant. She received her BA in East Asian studies and international relations from Boston University in 2012.

Neel Dhanesha

Neel Dhanesha is Professor Bacevich's undergraduate research assistant. He studies International Relations and Journalism at Boston University and will graduate in May 2014.

Course Description

This course offers a history of that war. It identifies the factors that inspired the United States to launch the conflict and to persist in a doomed enterprise. It describes how the war unfolded from one phase to the next, from the era of Jimmy Carter to the age of Barack Obama. It catalogs errors of judgment and implementation made along the way. It invites students to consider alternative approaches to policy that might have better served the interests of the United States and of the people living in countries invaded, occupied, bombed and otherwise subjected to American punishment.

Course Prerequisites


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