The Stakes : America in the Middle East: the Consequences of Power and the Choice for Peace

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Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 December 2002

In this thoughtful and thought-provoking book, the author explores not only the global social and political environment that existed before September 11, 2001, but the ramifications of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. He asks several important questions: What does the U.S. government mean when it talks about "terrorism"? Is the U.S. using the word in a different way than it's used in other countries? Does U.S. foreign policy, as it applies to terrorism, give due weight to the varying ideologies and aims of terrorist groups around the world? And, perhaps most importantly, do the peoples of the world support the U.S.' retaliatory stance? Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, backs up his statements with clear thinking and sharp between-the-lines reasoning; although casual readers may find the author's prose a bit daunting, those who have a grasp of international politics and an interest in this much-discussed subject will find the book a rich source of information. ((Reviewed December 1, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

PW Reviews 2002 November #4

Perception counts for a lot when it comes to U.S. policy in the Middle East-so Telhami argues in this slim but intellectually dense volume. A political scientist at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Telhami argues that the United States could defeat Osama bin Laden and even Iraq, but still not eliminate the Islamic terrorist threat. As long as the United States is perceived in the Arab and Muslim worlds as arrogant, pro-Israel and supportive of authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia's, the seeds of terror will sprout, he argues, quoting a Council on Foreign Relations study: "there is little doubt that stereotypes of the United States as arrogant, self-indulgent, hypocritical, inattentive, and unwilling or unable to engage in cross-cultural dialogue are pervasive and deeply rooted." Telhami devotes much of the book to elaborating, in readable prose, how and why American policy over the past few years has been viewed negatively. Telhami's solutions are simple. Among his proposals: the United States should become more evenhanded in its approach to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and pressure the region's authoritarian regimes to democratize. Strong defenders of American policy may find Telhami's argument a sophisticated form of "blame America," but as the world's focus narrows to Iraq, this volume provides a welcome look at how the Arab world views the broader picture. 3 maps. (Dec.) Forecast: There should be demand for this clearheaded discussion, and Westview plans a 40,000 first printing, ads in the New York Review of Books and elsewhere and a 30-market radio satellite tour for Telhami. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.