Fareed Zakaria’s Bad Middle East Advice, 20 Years Later

Fareed Zakaria hosts a group discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 in New York in 2012. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters) We probably won’t get Zakaria to recant his poor post-9/11 advice two decades later. But that doesn’t mean we have to listen to it.

Twenty years have passed since Fareed Zakaria got nearly everything wrong about Islamism, Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda in the pages of Newsweek. With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 behind us, it’s now time to reflect on the damage inflicted by two decades of Zakaria’s obsession with discovering how to change America to prevent future attacks.

Zakaria’s influence on foreign policy is undeniable. In 1992, he was named managing editor of Foreign Affairs. By 2001, he was editor of Newsweek International and later went on to edit Time magazine. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, and many others. In 2009, Forbes put him on its list of the most influential liberals in the media . . . and in 2011, The New Republic put him on its list of the most “over-rated thinkers.” Currently, he is a columnist for the Washington Post and host of

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