For example, Tyler notes that President Johnson did not demand that Israel give up its 1967 conquests. Decades later, during the Clinton era, Tyler writes, “American constancy suffered as Clinton allowed his administration to cave to Netanyahu’s demands to wipe the slate on which Rabin had charted a path to comprehensive peace and reconciliation.”
The US approach to Iraq, which Tyler dissects in meticulous fashion throughout the book, provides another example of baffling inconsistency. Ronald Reagan ended up supporting both sides in the Iran-Iraq War; George H.W. Bush encouraged Shiites to revolt against Saddam Hussein in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, then failed to come to their aid; Bill Clinton dithered on supporting CIA-organized Iraqi coup plotters, which led to the compromise of the operation and the deaths of the plotters; and George W. Bush invaded Iraq without planning for the postwar period.
But Tyler does not restrict himself to presidential blunders. He pointedly assails the machinations of several cabinet members as well.