Hadar, Leon T. (Leon Hadar)

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Hadar, Leon T. (Leon Hadar)


Israeli; became an American citizen. Education: Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, B.A., 1975, master of social science, 1977; Columbia University, M.Sc. (journalism), 1980; American University, Ph.D., 1991.


Office—Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001-5403. E-mail—[email protected].


Journalist, writer, policy analyst, and educator. Israeli Labor Party, Israel, parliamentary press secretary, 1975-77; Consulate of Israel, New York, NY, media analyst, 1977-79; Jerusalem Post, New York, NY, New York correspondent, 1980-84; Institute on East West Security Studies, New York, NY, resident fellow, 1983-84; Center for International Development and Conflict Management, College Park, MD, visiting fellow, 1986-87; American University, Washington, DC, professional lecturer, 1987-96; Mount Vernon College, Washington, DC, assistant professor of political science, 1988-90; Cato Institute, Washington, DC, research fellow in foreign policy studies, 1991—; Voice of America (Special English), writer/editor, 1992-94; Singapore Business Times, Washington correspondent, 1993—; China Business & Investment, Washington editor, 1996-99.


Henry Taylor Award, 1980, for "demonstrating the qualities of superior journalist"; 1991 Special Award for "outstanding scholarship" for dissertation.


Quagmire: America in the Middle East, Cato Institute (Washington, DC), 1992.

(As Leon Hadar) Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to books and reports, including America Entangled: The Persian Gulf Crisis and Its Consequences, Cato Institute, 1991; The Persian Gulf after the Cold War, Praeger, 1993; and Exiting Iraq, Cato Institute, 2004; also contributor to the annual Cato Handbook on Policy. Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, Current History, Middle East Journal, and Mediterranean Quarterly. Has posted columns on Internet news sites, including TheGlobalist.com, Antiwar. com, LewRockell.com, The National Interest Online, Right Web (IRC), FOXNews.com, and Asia Times Online. Also author of the blog Global Paradigms.


A journalist and policy analyst who specializes in foreign policy, international trade, the Middle East, and South and East Asia, Leon T. Hadar has written about foreign policy issues for numerous periodicals. In addition, he is also the author of two books focusing on the United States and its involvement in the Middle East. In his first book, Quagmire: America in the Middle East, published in 1992, the author examines the various interventions by the United States in the Middle East to bring about a peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine, as well as Israel's other Middle Eastern neighbors. "This is a study that delights in challenging conventional wisdom and often is quite persuasive," wrote William B. Quandt in a review in Foreign Affairs.

The author begins his book with an introduction that analyzes the state of U.S. policies following the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. He then analyzes the increased attention on the Middle East and the various sources of U.S. intervention in the Middle East over the years. Following an examination of the relationship between America and Israel, the author goes on to present his views about how this relationship should operate, presenting his belief that America's goal should be to help Israel help itself. Hadar also examines the Gulf War between the United States and Iraq in 1991, and what he predicts to be the coming American-European struggle over the Middle East. He proposes a specific solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and discusses whether or not there is a way out of the Middle Eastern dilemma that involves the United States.

Noting that "Hadar's book makes some telling points," Orbis contributor Joseph J. Sisco added: "He believes, rightly in my judgment, that until many of the Arab states solve their problems of domestic political legitimacy, the regional ruling elites and competing elites will be engaged in a continuing struggle for power." Sisco went on to write in the same review that the author "argues realistically that Washington's power to move Arab states in a democratic direction is quite limited."

More than a decade after the publication of Quagmire, Hadar takes another look at the United States and the Middle East with his book Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East. According to Andrew J. Bacevich in a review in the American Conservative, the author's book "launches a frontal assault on the several orthodoxies constituting the citadel of U.S. policy in the Middle East."

Although Hadar had not been against U.S. interventionism in the Middle East during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, he favored a "constructive disengagement" as outlined in his earlier book, Quagmire. Because the United States failed to disengage in the 1990s, the author argues in Sandstorm that the United States has fallen into a "destructive disengagement," leading the United States to use both military and economic resources to deal with growing challenges to its dominant role from regional to global actors.

Hadar begins by analyzing the reasons why the United States remains involved in the Middle East. He then examines the rising costs of the U.S. intervention policy from the days of the Cold War on to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As he writes about America's fixation with what he calls the Middle East's "rival twins," Israel and Saudi Arabia, Hadar also explores the European-American rift over the Middle East. He then goes on to offer a plan that would replace the Middle East paradigm. For example, he suggests that the U.S. should act forcefully to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but should also be less determined to forge a political change in the Middle East. According to the author, the United States government should also work toward a more clear "division of labor" between the United States and Europe in their efforts to secure Western interests in the region. He points out that such efforts will reduce short- and mid-term costs accrued by the U.S. involvement in the region. For a longer-term solution, Hadar proposes that the United States should encourage Europe to become more involved as the "balancer of last resort" in the region, thus preventing more conflict between Europe and America, such as the conflict that arose over the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"Leon Hadar's stated purpose for this book is to stimulate a long-overdue debate in this country over U.S. policy in the Middle East," wrote Martha Kessler in a review of Sandstorm in Middle East Policy. "He does not spend too much time second guessing past decisions with ‘what if’ analysis, but when he does, his command of the history of U.S. engagement in the Middle East is impressive and used adroitly throughout his criticism." Writing on the Left Coaster Web site, Steve Soto commented: "I strongly recommend … Sandstorm as a provocative argument in support of changing our approach in the region."



Hadar, Leon, Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2005.


American Conservative, August 1, 2005, Andrew J. Bacevich, "Middle East Paradigm Shift," review of Sandstorm.

Booklist, November 1, 1992, Mary Carroll, review of Quagmire: America in the Middle East, p. 469.

Choice, March, 1993, C.A. Rubenberg, review of Quagmire, p. 1238.

Foreign Affairs, winter, 1992, William B. Quandt, review of Quagmire; November-December, 2005, L. Carl Brown, review of Sandstorm.

Journal of Palestine Studies, spring, 1993, L. Carl Brown, review of Quagmire, p. 132.

Middle East Policy, spring, 1993, Shaw J. Dallal, review of Quagmire, p. 130; spring, 2006, Martha Kessler, review of Sandstorm.

Orbis, spring, 1995, Joseph J. Sisco, review of Quagmire, p. 286.


Cato Institute,http://www.cato.org/ (March 14, 2008), profile of author.

E Blogger,http://www.blogger.com/ (March 14, 2008), user profile of author.

Nieman Watchdog,http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/ (March 14, 2008), profile of author.

Globalist,http://www.theglobalist.com/ (March 14, 2008), profile of author.

Left Coaster,http://www.theleftcoaster.com/ (September 19, 2005), Steve Soto, "After the Shambles of a PNAC Middle East Policy, It's Time to Confront an Alternative—Interview with ‘Sandstorm’ Author Leon Hadar."

World Security Network,http://www.worldsecuritynetwork.com/ (March 14, 2008), profile of author.