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'Grand Delusion' with Steven Simon on Monday's Access Utah

Penguin Random House

In his book Grand Delusion, Steven Simon offers a comprehensive account of U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Simon begins with the Reagan administration, when American perception of the Middle East shifted from a cluster of faraway and frequently skirmishing nations to a shining, urgent opportunity for America to (in Reagan’s words) “serve the cause of world peace and the future of mankind.” Reagan fired the starting gun on decades of deepening American involvement, but as the global economy grew, bringing an increasing reliance on oil, U.S. diplomatic and military energies were ever more fatefully absorbed by the Middle East until the Obama administration and its successors finally sought to disentangle America from the region.

Steven Simon is a Senior Analyst at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow in International Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs from 2011 to 2012. He also worked on the NSC staff from 1994 to 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the U.S. Department of State. Between government assignments, he was Hasib Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, analyst at the RAND Corporation, and deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies; He is the co-author, among other books, of The Age of Sacred Terror, winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.