In the Mideast, U.S. Foreign Policy Gone Awry
A reader cites the many ways that U.S. policy toward the Middle East has created more problems and terrorists.
Jan. 9, 2020
To the Editor:
“A President’s Mixed Messages Unsettle More Than Reassure” (news analysis, front page, Jan. 9) quotes an Iranian-American strategist who described President Trump’s policy toward the Middle East over the past few months as “strategically incoherent.” In fact, U.S. policy in the region has been incoherent for nearly two decades with the pursuit of policies that have created terrorists faster than they could be eliminated.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. actions have worsened the stability of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia. Our prolonged stay in Afghanistan has been a strategic nightmare. George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was doomed from the start, targeting the wrong enemy and creating conditions for the current instability throughout the region.
American policies have contributed to metastasizing Al Qaeda into a diffuse global movement and intensified radical militancy in the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the huge costs of the “global war on terror” have compromised our ability to fund key domestic programs.
Mr. Trump’s actions toward Iran will increase the terrorist threat to the United States, creating more tactical opportunities for the Islamic State, and will allow President Vladimir Putin to improve Russia’s relations with both Iran and Iraq.
Finally, Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been revived, and the important co-signers of the 2015 nuclear accord have questioned and challenged the wisdom of U.S. actions.
Melvin A. Goodman
The writer, a former C.I.A. analyst, is senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 10, 2020, Section A, Page 26 of the New York edition with the headline: In the Mideast, U.S. Foreign Policy Gone Awry. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
Recent News and Latest Book
CIA’s Torture and Abuse: America’s Shame!
Lawrence Wright, the special counsel who investigated the Iran-contra scandal, concluded that the “failure to punish governmental lawbreakers feeds the perception that public officials are not wholly accountable for their actions. It also may lead the public to believe that no real wrongdoing took place.” This certainly applies to all those involved in CIA’s torture program.
Never Forget Who Donald Trump Really Is
“You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent! No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.” – Donald Trump, February 10, 2024, responding allegedly to a “leader of a big state” who asked “If we don’t pay” enough to…