The main thread of this review article is to identify the reasons of how to account for the trajectory of American power in the region. Leaving behind the vast amount of highly politicised and hastily compiled volumes of recent years (notwithstanding valuable exceptions), the monographs composed by Lawrence Freedman, Trita Parsi and Oliver Roy attempt to subtly disentangle the intricacies of US involvement in the region from highly distinct perspectives. One caveat for International Relations theorists is that none of the aforementioned authors intends to provide theoretical frameworks for his examination. However, since IR theory has damagingly neglected history in the last decades, the works under review here, at least in part, compensate for this disciplinary and intellectual failure.
In conclusion, Freedman's in-depth approach as a diplomatic historian, with its underlying reference to the various traditions in US foreign policy thinking, is most illuminating, while Parsi's contestable account focuses too narrowly on the Iran-Israel relationship. Roy's explications fail to show how and why the ‘ideological’ element in US foreign policy came to carry exceedingly more weight after 2001 than it did in the 1990s.