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News Link • WAR: About that War

America's Middle East Scorecard: Many Interventions, Few Successes

• Greg Myre, NPR

As the U.S. juggles multiple crises in the Middle East, it's a good time to look at the map.

Find Libya. Head east across North Africa through the Middle East and all the way to Pakistan in South Asia. The journey covers eight troubled lands, side by side. In seven, Sunni Islamists are pressing for power in various stages of revolt. The eighth is Iran, where Shiite clerics have long ruled.

The U.S. has opposed Muslim fundamentalists in every one of these cases, but American involvement has not produced any resolutions.

The U.S. approaches have run the gamut. There were major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were limited airstrikes in Libya. America opted for diplomacy and financial assistance with allies like Egypt and Pakistan, and sanctions against rivals, like Iran. Yet there's not a single success story.

Many have blamed U.S. policies, and one line of criticism is that George W. Bush overreached by waging two major wars simultaneously, while President Obama has been too hesitant to act as the region implodes.

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