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Michael MacDonald is Frederick L. Schuman Professor of International Relations at Williams College.


Overreach is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how and why the project of 'regime change' in Iraq not only failed, but was incoherent from the outset. With his characteristic political acumen, meticulous research practices, and marvelously lucid prose, MacDonald reveals the tragic political (not cultural!) blindness suffered by American architects of that project. This is a gripping, sad, and immensely important story.--Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
It is easy to forget how many supported the Iraq War in 2002 and 2003. For anyone who wants to remember what happened--and what went wrong--this is an absorbing read. We misunderstood Iraq and the war, MacDonald shows, because we misunderstood ourselves--profoundly and tragically.--Russell Muirhead, Dartmouth College
Excellent...MacDonald is profoundly and chillingly right in his diagnosis of the mentality that ultimately set this disastrous chain of events in motion.--James B. Rule"Dissent" (05/06/2015)
In Overreach, MacDonald methodically dissects the top ten reasons most often used to explain why the war was a failure, and in the process shows each to be self-serving, inadequate, misleading--or all of the above. He does the same for explanations of why we went to war in the first place.-- (09/01/2014)
MacDonald demonstrates vigorously and with intellectual clarity why the tenets of American exceptionalism do not usually translate to other areas of the world, with Iraq being just one example. A useful analysis of failed American military initiatives that could inform future debates about interventions in traditionally despotic nations that are also split among historically hostile religious factions.-- (08/15/2014)
With gloomily apt timing, as U.S. bombs drop once again on a now deeply fractured Iraq, international relations specialist MacDonald analyzes the usual explanations for why the Bush administration launched its invasion of Iraq in 2003 and finds them lacking. MacDonald argues that, beyond oil, the Israeli lobby, or Bush family history, the Iraq War and its horrific outcomes owe their existence to a more general trait in U.S. foreign policy, namely, a tendency to equate the country's values with its interests.-- (09/08/2014)

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