Leap of Faith: Hubris, Negligence, and America's Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Mar. 2019. 528p. notes. index. ISBN 9781541768369. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781541768345. POL SCI
RAND senior political scientist Mazarr (Rethinking Risk in National Security) writes an exhaustive interpretation of the beginnings of the Iraq War and provides an important historical evaluation of American foreign policy. The author's argument that the path to the conflict was typical of modern foreign policy efforts is heavily supported by lengthy citations, although some interviewees wanted to remain anonymous and identified only by number, reducing their credibility. Mazarr argues that U.S. administrations are generally populated with officials who believe collective myths about Iraq and are emboldened by personal visions that are not always reflective of reality. He continues that unchallenged military power, moralistic imperatives, messianic tendencies, and an overeager ambition to solve international disputes have impelled American leaders to process issues in terms of values rather than consequences. As a former professor of national security strategy at the U.S. National War College, Mazarr lends expertise and authority to this subject.
VERDICT Although far from the last word on the Iraq War, this volume will be a required purchase for libraries serving policy analysts and students of national strategy.

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