A Conversation with Anthony Cordesman: America Was Already Blundering into War

June 20, 2017 Topic: Security Region: Middle East Tags: SyriaAssadTrumpMiddle EastCordesmanCSIS

A Conversation with Anthony Cordesman: America Was Already Blundering into War

Washington’s foreign policy was leading the country into war in Syria and Iraq.

Editor's Note: In our latest Facebook Live interview (please like our Facebook page to see more of these events) Anthony H. Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS, sat down with Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest, to discuss American foreign policy in the Middle East and NATO.

Anthony H. Cordesman, the holder of the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is well-known for his expertise on American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. In this interview, Cordesman brings to bear a wealth of experience, commenting on NATO, Syria, Afghanistan and the foreign policy records of past presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He also offers keen observations about President Trump’s initial months in office. Cordesman takes a very sober view of America’s efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and can be safely described as a realist when it comes to his thinking about foreign affairs.

Cordesman has been a longtime congressional staffer, a director of intelligence assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as civilian assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. His biography at CSIS notes, “He directed the analysis of the lessons of the October War for the secretary of defense in 1974, coordinating U.S. military, intelligence, and civilian analysis of the conflict. He has served in numerous other government positions, including at the Department of State and on the NATO International Staff. Cordesman also served as director of policy and planning for resource applications at the Department of Energy. He has had numerous foreign assignments as well—including posts in Lebanon, Egypt, and Iran—and has worked extensively in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. He has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service medal, is a former adjunct professor of national security studies at Georgetown University, and has twice been a Wilson fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian. Cordesman is the author of more than fifty books, including a four-volume series on the lessons of modern war.”

Image: A Free Syrian Army fighter takes a position inside a former Palestinian refugee camp in a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir.