Former State Department advisor for Afghanistan and Pakistan and best-selling author Vali Nasr delivers a sharp indictment of America's flawed foreign policy and outlines a new relationship with the Muslim world and with new players in the changing Middle East.
In this essential new book, Vali Nasr argues that the Obama administration had a chance to improve its relations with the Middle East, but instead chose to pursue its predecessor's questionable strategies there. Nasr takes listeners behind the scenes at the State Department and reveals how the new government's fear of political backlash and the specter of terrorism crippled the efforts of diplomatic giants, like Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton, to boost America's foundering credibility with world leaders. Meanwhile, the true economic threats, China and Russia, were quietly expanding their influence in the region. And a second Arab Spring is brewing - not a hopeful clamor for democracy but rage at the United States for its foreign policy of drones and assassinations. Drawing on his in-depth knowledge of the Middle East and firsthand experience in diplomacy, Nasr offers a powerful reassessment of American foreign policy that directs the country away from its failing relationships in the Middle East (such as with Saudi Arabia) toward more productive, and less costly, partnerships with other foreign allies (such as Turkey). Forcefully persuasive, Vali Nasr's book is a game changer for America as it charts a course in the Muslim world, Asia, and beyond.
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Mostly general assertions & little evidence
I'm confident, given his experience, that the author has valuable insight, but from the Prologue to Chapters 1 and 2, there was so much condemnation with such little supporting evidence that I could not continue listening. For example, in Chapter 2 (Ch 3 in audio download) he states Karzai's brother had "ties to the drug trade...giving them the means to line their pockets while abusing the local population." But he never describes what those ties were, what methods they were using to line their pockets, or how they were abusing the local population. Had he taken more time to provide concrete information less emotional retoric, this could have been a good book, but I cannot recommend it.
A more objective review of the history of the Middle East.