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Begun as the United States moved its armed forces into Iraq, Rashid Khalidi’s powerful and thoughtful new book examines the record of Western involvement in the region and analyzes the likely outcome of our most recent Middle East incursions. Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of the political and cultural history of the entire region as well as interviews and documents, Khalidi paints a chilling scenario of our present situation and yet offers a tangible alternative that can help us find the path to peace rather than Empire.
We all know that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sadly, as Khalidi reveals with clarity and surety, America’s leaders seem blindly committed to an ahistorical path of conflict, occupation, and colonial rule. Our current policies ignore rather than incorporate the lessons of experience. American troops in Iraq have seen first hand the consequences of U.S. led “democratization” in the region. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems intractable, and U.S. efforts in recent years have only inflamed the situation. The footprints America follows have led us into the same quagmire that swallowed our European forerunners. Peace and prosperity for the region are nowhere in sight.
This cogent and highly accessible book provides the historical and cultural perspective so vital to understanding our present situation and to finding and pursuing a more effective and just foreign policy.
“Rashid Khalidi’s extraordinary book is enormously relevant for our times, especially in light of America’s growing involvement in the Middle East. Khalidi brings first hand knowledge and an extensive historical background to a topic where such insight is needed more than ever.”--Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize, author of The Roaring Nineties
“If you are wondering why the United States is up to its ears in alligators in Iraq and is widely hated in the Arab world, read this impressive book. Unlike most so-called Middle East experts, Khalidi actually knows a great deal about that region, which allows him to make a sophisticated and persuasive case that the Bush Administration’s plan to re-make the Middle East at the end of a rifle barrel is delusional.”--John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago