About the Project
In October 2020, I published my newest book, Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East. It is a study of U.S. efforts to oust hostile governments in the Middle East since the 1950s, with a view to drawing lessons for how to approach the region today and in the future. Drawing on my own experience in government, the book shows how U.S. interventions in places as diverse as Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria were all very different, but all ended up failing to achieve their intended goals, produced a range of unintended consequences, carried heavy financial and human costs, and in many cases left the countries in question worse off than they were before. I argue that diplomacy, deterrence, containment, arms control, and engagement invariably provide a better path forward than well-intended but almost always counter-productive and costly attempts to change regimes and impose democracy. In addition to my book, I continue to write essays and op-eds on this topic, including in Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, Newlines, and elsewhere. I have also spoken about the book at the Council on Foreign Relations, the Middle East Institute, the American Academy in Berlin, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the SETA Foundation, the Institute for National Security Studies, the European Council on Foreign Relations, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and the Rethinking Iran Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.