In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, a number of Americans thought the idea was crazy. Now everyone, except a few die-hards, thinks it was. So what was going through the minds of the talented and experienced men and women who planned and initiated the war? What were their assumptions? Overreach aims to recover those presuppositions.
In 2011, the United States launched its third regime-change attempt in a decade. Like earlier targets, Libya's Muammar Qaddafi had little hope of defeating the forces stacked against him. He seemed to recognize this when calling for a cease-fire just after the intervention began. But by then, the United States had determined it was better to oust him than negotiate and thus backed his opposition. The history of foreign-imposed regime change is replete with leaders like Qaddafi, overthrown after wars they seemed unlikely to win. From the British ouster of Afghanistan's Sher Ali in 1878 to the Soviet overthrow of Hungary's Imre Nagy in 1956, regime change has been imposed on the weak and the friendless. In Toppling Foreign Governments, Melissa Willard-Foster explores the question of why stronger nations overthrow governments when they could attain their aims at the bargaining table. She identifies a central cause—the targeted leader's domestic political vulnerability—that not only gives the leader motive to resist a stronger nation's demands, making a bargain more difficult to attain, but also gives the stronger nation reason to believe that regime change will be comparatively cheap. As long as the targeted leader's domestic opposition is willing to collaborate with the foreign power, the latter is likely to conclude that ousting the leader is more cost effective than negotiating. Willard-Foster analyzes 133 instances of regime change, ranging from covert operations to major military invasions, and spanning over two hundred years. She also conducts three in-depth case studies that support her contention that domestically and militarily weak leaders appear more costly to coerce than overthrow and, as long as they remain ubiquitous, foreign-imposed regime change is likely to endure.
This exciting new edition of the successful textbook for students of Middle Eastern politics provides a highly relevant and comprehensive introduction to the complexities of a region in constant flux. Combining a thematic framework for examining patterns of politics with individual chapters dedicated to specific countries, the book places the very latest developments and long-standing issues within an historical context, introducing key concepts from comparative politics to further explore the interaction between Middle Eastern history and the region’s contemporary political development. Presenting information in an accessible and inclusive format, the book offers: • Coverage of the historical influence of colonialism and major world powers on the shaping of the modern Middle East. • A detailed examination of the legacy of Islam. • Analysis of the political and social aspects of Middle Eastern life: alienation between state and society, poverty and social inequality, ideological crises and renewal. • Case studies on countries in the Northern Belt (Turkey and Iran); the Fertile Crescent (Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Israel/Palestine); and those West and East of the Red Sea (Egypt and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council), moving through an historical examination to close analysis of the most recent developments and their political and social impacts. • Extensive pedagogical features, including original maps and further reading sections, provide essential support for the reader. A key introductory text for students of Middle Eastern politics and history at advanced undergraduate and postgraduate levels, this new edition has been extensively updated to also become a timely and significant reference for policy-makers and any motivated reader.