The Tao of the Arab Center

The Bush administration may have gotten a lot wrong, but there is still hope for America’s policy in the Middle East. Three books shed some light on how the United States can get over Iraq.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2008

Marwan Muasher, The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 336 pp., $30.00.

Kenneth M. Pollack, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East (New York: Random House, 2008), 592 pp., $30.00.

Olivier Roy, The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East, trans. Ros Schwartz (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), 160 pp., $24.95.

 

THE TIME is especially ripe for comprehensive rethinking of policy toward the Middle East. The advent of a new U.S. presidency is one obvious reason. Another is the miring of the outgoing administration in the sands of Iraq. The war became a preoccupation that has defined the Bush administration's involvement in the Middle East and devoured attention, resources and bargaining chips that could have been applied to other U.S. interests, in the region and elsewhere. Wherever decisions in Washington and events in Iraq henceforth steer the still-unfinished war, too many other challenges in the Middle East need attention for Iraq to be as much of a preoccupation during the next four years as it has been over the past six.

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