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Two American Crusades

Actors and Factors in the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism

by Marian Leighton

Paperback eBook PDF

Publisher: Universal-Publishers
Pub date: 2020
Pages: 398
ISBN-10: 1627343105
ISBN-13: 9781627343107
Categories: Political SciencePolitical ScienceHistory & Biography


Here is the first in-depth analysis and comparison of U.S. policy in two seminal conflicts of our recent history: the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism. Unlike previous publications, which deal with each conflict separately, Two American Crusades treats the two as a seamless web, from the passions of the medieval Crusades through the long twilight struggle of the Cold War to the campaign against al Qaeda and ISIS stemming from the rise of radical political Islam. National security and foreign policy professionals, members of the academic community, and general readers alike will benefit from the insights revealed in this book that exert a profound influence on current international affairs and America’s role.

Two American Crusades also illustrates why a peace dividend continues to elude the United States.


See review When History Repeats Itself: Contemporary Holy Wars in International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, Volume 35, 2022 - Issue 3

A history of American foreign policy that is sweeping in scope and penetrating in its analysis. Two American Crusades makes two original contributions. First, it surveys and compares America’s role in the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism. Second, it argues that U.S. policy was driven by a crusading impulse to promote its democratic values around the world, incurring a high cost in blood, treasure, and moral authority. Two Crusades concludes by stating that the war on terrorism is veering away from the battlefield as America retrenches, re-evaluates its role in the world, and pursues a less aggressive foreign policy.
--Benjamin B. Fischer, former Chief Historian of the Central Intelligence Agency

A sweeping and valuable examination of the America’s two momentous struggles since World War II—the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the Global War on Terrorism against al Qaeda and other networks. Dr. Leighton provides a sobering account of these protracted conflicts and the legacies they left behind.
--Seth G. Jones, Harold Brown Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and author of A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland.

A meticulously researched and convincingly argued work that makes a major contribution to our understanding of the past 75 years of American history. Many have written about the Cold War and, separately, the Global War on Terrorism. Dr. Leighton takes an innovative approach and treats the two as a seamless continuum.
--Igor Lukes, Professor of History and International Relations, Boston University, and author of On the Edge of the Cold War: American Diplomats and Spies in Postwar Prague.

The demise of the Soviet Union dovetailed with the advent of Islamic terrorism. Dr. Leighton expertly describes these conflicts, provides experienced analyses about the past, and projects the difficulties ahead.
--Richard R. Valcourt, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, International Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence

Academe has long kept the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism in separate silos. Dr. Leighton breaks new ground by revealing the nexus between the two crusades. She critiques a US strategy that defeated the Soviet army in Afghanistan but left the Islamist fighters there free to wage a jihad against the United States. The result was 9/11, which in turn triggered the Global War on Terrorism.
--Dr. Leif Rosenberger, Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, former Chief Economist at CENTCOM and PACOM, and author of Economic Statecraft and US Foreign Policy: Reducing the Demand for Violence.

About the Author

Marian Leighton is a professional writer, editor and retired intelligence analyst. She graduated from Barnard College with a major in Russian Studies and obtained her PhD from Columbia University in International Relations. Before joining the intelligence community, Dr. Leighton worked for two New York publishing companies and also wrote reports for Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe. In addition, she has worked at the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, as Director of Soviet Studies at National Security Research, and as Vice President for Intelligence Issues at Strategic Planning International. An Adjunct Professor at the Joint Military Intelligence College, Dr. Leighton taught courses on the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia, and terrorism. Dr. Leighton has written three books on Soviet affairs and numerous articles for scholarly journals, as well as adaptations of classics for young readers and a screenplay--a thriller set in the Cold War period. She is currently a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence.
Soviet Propaganda as a Foreign Policy Tool
The Deceptive Lure of Détente
The Soviet Threat to NATO’s Northern Flank