From Publishers Weekly
Scheuer, former CIA analyst and trenchant critic of U.S. terrorism policies (Imperial Hubris
) develops his argument that America suffers from a collective insistence on sustaining Cold War paradigms in a fundamentally altered world. For all its culpable errors, the current administration is merely the present-day incorporation of willful historical ignorance, a paucity of common sense, and... a disastrous degree of intellectual hubris. These fundamental shortcomings are exacerbated by a pattern of making policy decisions on the basis of how a liberal-pacifist media and intelligentsia will react, rather than objectively considering the national interest. That interest, Scheuer argues, requires prioritizing the Islamic threat in security considerations and understanding that it does not manifest intractable, theologically based hostility to American values and lifestyles. The Islamic challenge instead reflects a series of concrete U.S. policy decisions, beginning in 1973, committing the U.S. to supporting an endless war to the death between Arabs and Israelis. An increasingly desperate effort to sustain a fundamental regional imbalance—and Scheuer does not spare the Clinton administration—has led to direct military involvement, culminating in the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan. These defeats, Scheuer declares, are the inevitable result of seeking to change the Middle East's dynamics by exporting the unique American patterns of democracy and republicanism. Controversial in its details, Scheuer's analysis suffers fundamentally from Occidentalism. Interpreting Islamic behavior as a consequence of American actions keeps the U.S. at the center of events in precisely the Cold War model Scheuer excoriates. (Feb. 12)
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About the Author
is a twenty-plus-year CIA veteran. From 1996 to 1999, he
served as the Chief of the bin Laden unit (aka Alec Station), the Osama bin
Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorism Center. He then worked as Special
Adviser to the Chief of the bin Laden unit from September 2001 to November 2004.
He resigned from the CIA in 2004. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of
Security Studies at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown
Foundation, writing regularly for its online publication Global Terrorism
. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.