Nowhere has the U.S. military established more bases, lost more troops, or spent more money in the last thirty years than in the Middle East and Central Asia. These regions fall under the purview of United States Central Command (CENTCOM); not coincidentally, they include the most energy-rich places on earth. From its inception, CENTCOM was tasked with the military and economic security of this key strategic area, the safeguarding of commercial opportunities therein, and ultimately the policing of a pivotal yet precarious space in the broader global economy. CENTCOM calls this mission its "Long War." This book tells the story of that long war: a war underpinned by a range of entangled geopolitical and geoeconomic visions and involving the use of the most devastating Western interventionary violence of our time.
Starting with a historical perspective, John Morrissey explores CENTCOM's Cold War origins and evolution, before addressing key elements of the command's grand strategy, including its interventionary rationales and use of the law in war. Engaging a wide range of scholarship on neoliberalism, imperialism, geopolitics, and Orientalism, the book then looks in-depth at the military interventions CENTCOM has spearheaded and critically assesses their consequences in terms of human geography.
Recent books on CENTCOM have focused on command structures, intelligence issues, and interpersonal rivalries. In contrast, The Long War asks critical questions about CENTCOM's leading role in shaping and enacting U.S. foreign policy over the last thirty years. The book positions CENTCOM pivotally in the story of U.S. global ambition over this period by documenting its efforts to oversee a global security strategy defined in military-economic terms and enabled via specific legal-territorial tactics. This is an important new study on the blurring of war and economic aims on a global scale.