For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin until the 2016 election and our lack of focus on China’s rise — the most important geopolitical development of the early 21st century — are all partly a function of our obsession with counterterrorism and Middle East conflict in the aftermath of 9/11.
The coronavirus pandemic might finally change that, because the sheer magnitude of the crisis can — should — force an overdue rethinking of our foreign policy priorities that’s long overdue.
The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks became the filter for the foreign policy community, the media and American public to view events around the world, many times putting disproportionate emphasis on Middle East conflict, shaping how policymakers and the military implement and prioritize U.S. objectives.
Read the full article in The Washington Post.
More from CNAS
CommentaryBig Ideas for NATO’s New Mission in Iraq
Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls for America’s allies to “get more involved in the Middle East,” NATO defense ministers last month agreed to “enhance” the Atlanti...
By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk
CommentaryThe Iranian Missile Strike Did Far More Damage Than Trump Admits
Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation f...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Paul Scharre
PodcastGrappling With the Costs of Combat
Kayla Williams joins Ilan Goldenberg to discuss her time serving as an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army and the human costs of armed conflict....
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kayla M. Williams
PodcastStories from the Backchannel: Season Two Trailer
Now more than ever, Americans are interested in the people working behind the scenes on consequential national security decisions. In Season Two of Stories from the Backchanne...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Susanna V. Blume, Kayla M. Williams, Price B. Floyd, Kurt Campbell & Kara Frederick