Alleged pro-democracy activists around the world are remarkably adept at telling American leaders exactly what they wish to hear. Their goal: winning crucial diplomatic, economic, and military support from the United States. As powerfully detailed in this book, this tactic has often led U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders to support causes that have stained America's honor or resulted in tragic consequences. The author, a foreign policy expert, has crafted a deeply penetrating look at some of the most prominent cases and their resonating impact. He takes us from the Nicaraguan Contras, Angola's Jonas Savimbi, the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Iraqi National Congress, and Ukraine's Maidan demonstrators to U.S. military entanglements in bloody and unnecessary wars in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and Syria--with other tragic stops along the way. In each chapter, the author provides a thorough analysis of U.S. missteps, a wealth of historical details, and the lessons that need to be learned.
A tradition of caution betrayed -- The Nicaraguan contras: the "moral equal of America's founders"? -- The Afghan Mujahideen: holy warriors, not freedom fighters -- Jonas Savimbi: the Reagan doctrine's greatest embarrassment -- Washington empowers a ruthless Kosovo army -- Color revolutions produce bleak outcomes -- The Iraqi National Congress cons Washington into war -- More suspect freedom fighters: Iran's MEK -- The Obama administration's calamitous crusade in Libya -- Washington backs Ukraine's murky Maidan revolution -- Into the Syrian maelstrom and another frustrating search for elusive freedom fighters -- America needs a new policy of skepticism and restraint
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