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Even the most seasoned Middle East observers were taken aback by the events of early 2011. Protests born of oppression and socioeconomic frustration erupted throughout the streets; public unrest provoked violent police backlash; long-established dictatorships fell. How did this all happen? What might the future look like, and what are the likely ramifications for the United States and the rest of the world? In The Arab Awakening, experts from the Brookings Institution tackle such questions to make sense of this tumultuous region that remains at the heart of U.S. national interests.The first portion of The Arab Awakening offers broad lessons by analyzing key aspects of the Mideast turmoil, such as public opinion trends within the "Arab Street"; the role of social media and technology; socioeconomic and demographic conditions; the influence of Islamists; and the impact of the new political order on the Arab-Israeli peace process.The next section looks at the countries themselves, finding commonalties and grouping them according to the political evolutions that have (or have not) occurred in each country. The section offers insight into the current situation, and possible trajectory of each group of countries, followed by individual nation studies. The Arab Awakening brings the full resources of Brookings to bear on making sense of what may turn out to be the most significant geopolitical movement of this generation. It is essential reading for anyone looking to understand these developments and their consequences.
"A persuasive but painful solution for dealing with the mess in the Middle East." -Kirkus. The greatest danger to America's peace and prosperity, notes leading Middle East policy analyst Kenneth M. Pollack, lies in the political repression, economic stagnation, and cultural conflict running rampant in Arab and Muslim nations. By inflaming political unrest and empowering terrorists, these forces pose a direct threat to America's economy and national security. The impulse for America might be to turn its back on the Middle East in frustration over the George W. Bush administration's mishandling of the Iraq War and other engagements with Arab and Muslim countries. But such a move, Pollack asserts, will only exacerbate problems. He counters with the idea that we must continue to make the Middle East a priority in our policy, but in a humbler, more humane, more realistic, and more cohesive way. Pollack argues that Washington's greatest sin in its relations with the Middle East has been its persistent unwillingness to make the sustained and patient effort needed to help the people of the Middle East overcome the crippling societal problems facing their governments and societies. As a result, the United States has never had a workable comprehensive policy in the region, just a skein of half-measures intended either to avoid entanglement or to contain the influence of the Soviet Union. Beyond identifying the stagnation of civic life in Arab and Muslim states and the cumulative effect of our misguided policies, Pollack offers a long-term strategy to ameliorate the political, economic, and social problems that underlie the region's many crises. Through his suggested policies, America can engage directly with the governments of the Middle East and indirectly with its people by means of cultural exchange, commerce, and other "soft" approaches. He carefully examines each of the region's most contested areas, including Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and explains how the United States can address each through mutually reinforcing policies. At a time when the nation will be facing critical decisions about our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, A Path Out of the Desert is guaranteed to stimulate debate about America's humanitarian, diplomatic, and military involvement in the Middle East.
In his highly influential bookThe Threatening Storm, bestselling author Kenneth Pollack both informed and defined the national debate about Iraq. Now, inThe Persian Puzzle, published to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis, he examines the behind-the-scenes story of the tumultuous relationship between Iran and the United States, and weighs options for the future. Here Pollack, a former CIA analyst and National Security Council official, brings his keen analysis and insi...
In The Threatening Storm, Kenneth M. Pollack, one of the world's leading experts on Iraq, provides a masterly insider's perspective on the crucial issues facing the United States as it moves toward a new confrontation with Saddam Hussein.<P> For the past fifteen years, as an analyst on Iraq for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, Kenneth Pollack has studied Saddam as closely as anyone else in the United States. In 1990, he was one of only three CIA analysts to predict the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. As the principal author of the CIA's history of Iraqi military strategy and operations during the Gulf War, Pollack gained rare insight into the methods and workings of what he believes to be the most brutal regime since Stalinist Russia.<P> Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam's cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society--for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.<P> Pollack believed for many years that the United States could prevent Saddam from threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf and the world through containment--a combination of sanctions and limited military operations. Here, Pollack explains why containment is no longer effective, and why other policies intended to deter Saddam ultimately pose a greater risk than confronting him now, before he gains possession of nuclear weapons and returns to his stated goal of dominating the Gulf region. "It is often said that war should be employed only in the last resort," Pollack writes. "I reluctantly believe that in the case of the threat from Iraq, we have come to the last resort."<P> Offering a view of the region that has the authority and force of an intelligence report, Pollack outlines what the leaders of neighboring Arab countries are thinking, what is necessary to gain their support for an invasion, how a successful U.S. operation would be mounted, what the likely costs would be, and how Saddam might react. He examines the state of Iraq today--its economy, its armed forces, its political system, the status of its weapons of mass destruction as best we understand them, and the terrifying security apparatus that keeps Saddam in power. Pollack also analyzes the last twenty years of relations between the United States and Iraq to explain how the two countries reached the unhappy standoff that currently prevails.<P> Commanding in its insights and full of detailed information about how leaders on both sides will make their decisions, The Threatening Storm is an essential guide to understanding what may be the crucial foreign policy challenge of our time.
In Unthinkable, Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst with twenty-five years of experience working on the Middle East, explores America's intractable problem with Iran, Tehran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, and the prolonged clash that led us to this point. Pollack lays out key solutions to the Iran nuclear question, explaining and assessing the options for American policymakers: <P> * Redoubling our efforts at a carrot-and-stick approach that combines negotiations and sanctions <P> * Aiding the Iranian opposition to bring about a popular form of regime change <P> * An Israeli military strike <P> * The American military option <P> * Containing a nuclear Iran <P> Insightful, powerful, and balanced in its approach, Unthinkable is one of the most thoughtful and important books on foreign policy in the past decade.
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