The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Ancient History to Modern Problems

As the above video demonstrates, the history of the Middle East is long and complex.  The Middle East was the center of the Ancient and the Mediveal world.  The question of modern policy makers is to what extent, if any, should the ancient and medieval history of the region influence twenty-first century policy and strategy.  Should the region seek inter-state harmony that is consistent with the history; or, should states in the region break with the past and establish regional relations based on the future.


May 4, 2009 - Posted by | A652, Current Events | , , , , , , ,


  1. Policy makers do need to consider ancient history in the Middle East when formulating policy and strategy because they need to understand the reasoning and the emotion behind what the people and governments of the area use to govern their policies and decisions. It doesn’t matter if the history is no longer relevant if the people in the area think that it is. The challenge is for the region to develop relationships based on common interests in order to develop the economy and infrastructure to help raise the standard of living for the people. The difficulty in doing this is that countries and people in the Middle East must overcome old animosities in order to look to the future. Easier said than done. Also, until the Israel/Palestine issue is settled, it is difficult to get past the historical problems in the region.

    Comment by Wayne Wilson | March 26, 2009

  2. What policy makers need to always remember is the US is a relative infant compared to the culture and history of the rest of the world. As the video illustrated the middle east served as major epicenter for civilization development and populations of people. We cannot just expect that various cultures will simply discard the past. Our culture is not one of historical appreciation but one of satisfying immediate needs. When developing policy lawmakers must understand that these cultures and their beliefs are very slow to change. Discarding those sensitivites would not help to improve the worlds opinion of the US. Setting timetables for cultural change in certain areas is not pratical nor realistic even if its in the name of free trade, or economical stability.

    Comment by Dan Meyerhuber | March 27, 2009

  3. Good points…. Understanding the history of the Middle East and its relation to today’s issues is as much about understanding American culture as it is about understanding Middle Eastern history and culture. Looking at the world and global issues through an American prism focuses one on the immediate and the future and not the past. Not the same way everyone else views things.

    Comment by dimarcola | March 30, 2009

  4. When formulating policy for this region policy makers need to be aware of the past but immediate requirements must be taken into account. It appears that past weighs to heavily in the minds of policy makers. I agree that the culture of this area is slow to change, but it is difficult to make policy that will be effective in the 21st century if you are still living in the 13th century. Policy makers of the region must start focusing on the problems at hand not the problems from ancient history.

    Comment by MAJ Scott Cockrell | May 16, 2009

  5. American policy makers will always have challenges when designing Middle East policy mostly because of the great divide between the way we look at things and the way people of that region look at things. This asymmetry often leads to misunderstanding, misinterpretations, friction, and conflict. Therefore, while keeping our own national interests in mind, we should seek a deeper, more thorough understanding of the complex system that is the Middle East, understanding the Middle Eastern perspective of culture, history, and self estimation in the region and the world. We should seek to understand the complex web of relationships of key players, power brokers, information brokers, and the populations of each of the many groups of the region (no matter where the divide is drawn). An understanding of these relationships (constructive, destructive, and neutral), paired with a thoughtful estimation of each player’s interests, goals, methods, and values could yield access for us either directly or through higher-order effects into the system, thus engendering positive system change reference our national interests (and greater stability and conflict resolution in the region at large). We must, however, never fail to consider the temporal aspects of injecting ourselves into a complex, and in the case of the Middle East, inherently unstable system. We must always look to the repercussions of our actions, and the higher-order effects of our inputs into the system, as it will inevitably change through our access and application. In summation, we must continuously observe and seek a higher understanding of the Middle East, make savvy, well-considered inputs, and show a greater strategic patience when dealing with this region, knowing our timeline and our concept of rationality and common sense is quite often different than theirs.

    Comment by Stick Slaughter | May 26, 2009

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