This chapter provides a summary of the book’s major findings and draws conclusions from them. It makes three main assertions. First, it explores why it is a mistake to attribute the root cause of Islamists’ hostility toward America to the latter’s Middle Eastern policies, which is a claim that realists frequently make. Second, given the importance of ideologies to leaders’ threat perceptions and core international-security policies, American decision makers would be wise to make these variables central to their assessments of international politics in the specific ways developed in the chapter. Third, although officials in the George W. Bush administration correctly understood that ideological relationships were likely to have major international-security effects in the Middle East, these individuals also made critical errors on this subject that undermined U.S. interests. The chapter concludes with a brief examination of the Barack Obama administration’s views on these issues.
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