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Obama and the Middle East: The End of America's Moment? Hardcover – May 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230113818
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230113817
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sensible recommendations are woven through every chapter of the book for the next US administration" - YaleGlobal Online

"For students of the region, journalists, policy-makers, or others interested in developing a nuanced understanding of US foreign policy towards the Middle East today, at a time when the sun seems to be setting on the US' 'unipolar moment', Fawaz Gerges' Obama and the Middle East could not have come at a better time." - LSE Review of Books

"In a thorough and clear manner, Gerges takes the reader through each of the major challenges the Obama administration has had to face in the Middle East, highlighting where the man of 'hope' and 'change' failed, and where the president has simply been a prisoner of history." - Middle East Policy Council

About the Author

Fawaz A. Gerges is a professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he is chair of the Middle East Centre. He was a senior ABC television news analyst from 2000 until 2007 and has been a guest on Charlie Rose, Oprah, ABC Nightline, and other prominent shows. He has contributed pieces to The New York Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Middle East Journal, Al Mustaqbal al-Arabi, and many others. He lives in London.

More About the Author

Fawaz A. Gerges, the Director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, is Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations. His books include Journey of the Jihadist and The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. (Photo Credit: Jane Hoffer)

Customer Reviews

I just want to discuss one aspect of Fawaz Gerges book which left me with a dubious feeling.
Mike De Freitas
The book will be useful to anyone seeking to understand current politics and the United States' interests in the region.
Richard D. Deverell
Basically, America's influence in the region is waning because Obama hasn't acted to build closer relationships.
Judie Amsel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sinohey TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book offers a scholarly study of the failed policies of the USA towards the Middle East and Muslim nation in general. The entrenched mindset of the Cold War since Truman's days has persisted throughout the years to Obama's foreign policy advisors. Gerges lays out in a clear concise manner the roots of the problem, the succesion of failed attempts at influencing the region to join the pro-Western and the many missed and bungled opportunities of consecutive Presidents and their administrations.

Gerges, (a Christian Lebanese born US citizen) Professor at the London School of Economics is an acknowledged foremost authority on the Middle East and is not an apologist for the Arab or Muslim "cause" but is an impartial observer of the realpolitik of the region.

This is a well crafted book that should be read and referenced by serious scholars and individuals genuinely seeking to understand the present status of USA - Middle East relations and the future through the quagmire of militaristic Islamists, Arab nationalism and liberation, the oil energy crisis, Iran's nuclear aspirations and China's ascending influence in the region.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael T on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an important book because the subjects it surveys - America's critically important relationships in the Middle East, and why they are in parlous shape - are in urgent need of informed debate. Professor Gerges captures and explains much of what Obama inherited, what he has changed for the better and where his rhetoric has outstripped performance. His key conclusion is that Obama has repeatedly lacked the courage of his convictions, was a politician rather than a statesman - was "timid" - particularly in dealing with Israel's Bibi Netanyahu and the Israeli occupation. He acknowledges the substantial obstacles to change, both in Congress and in the region. However, the book does not persuasively demonstrate that Obama had policy options that he chose not to use; that those options were not effectively blocked in Congress; that, when implemented, such policies would have overcome intransigent Israeli resistance; and that the likely costs to other elements of the administration's program were tolerable.
Gerges does a wonderful job of describing what American policy should be, and what effects it should have on the ground. For those of us who agree with him wholeheartedly, it is critical to understand what keeps the changes from happening. And it may be that facts will eventually become available to show that Obama could have faced Netanyahu (and his friends) down and forced a reversal in longstanding Israeli policy. But as Gerges notes, "Israeli politicians," including Netanyahu and former opposition leader Tzipi Livni, "have made a conscious decision that keeping Palestinian lands is more important" than peace at the cost of much of that land.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stanley B. Platt on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gerges has clearly described how Barack Obama's Foreign Policies have failed to help shape Middle Eastern politics and freedoms due to his use of Progressive Politics and Military Strategies that originally placed us here during the Carter Administration.

In addition, Gerges demonstrates how Obama has failed the entire Middle East Region using the flawed strategies that have been produced from his inept Foreign Policy staff.

In Chapter 3 he specifically raises the question as to whether United States Policies during the 2011 Arab Spring significantly changed the status quo in the Middle East thereby presently irreversible challenges for the World.

Here, Fawaz Gerges, a top Middle East scholar, delivers a broad picture of US relations within the region. He reaches back more than 50 years to clearly explain the issues that have challenged the Obama administration and examines the president's failures; from his failed negotiations with Israel and Palestine to his drawdown from Afghanistan and withdrawal from Iraq.

Gerges highlights the changes that an American President must make to improve the US position in the Middle East in light of his do nothing policy in Egypt and as his failed relations with Iran and Libya.

The conclusion is frightening in that United States Foreign Policy has failed miserably during the past three years resulting in the end of its influence in the area unless things are changed radically by a new occupant in the White House.
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By Ignacio R Camacho on November 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a person from Latin America, I loved this book because it shows US interventionist policies. The book is good but seems anti-American and biased in this regard. I loved the book because, as almost everyone who is not from the US, I see the hypocrisy and double standards of the US foreign policy.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Chatham, NJ former Mayor Vaughan on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed living from 1980 to 1985 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and traveled extensively in the Middle-East over a 20 year period during the 70's and 80's; and as a politician [former American small town Mayor] I was naturally drawn to read this book. I was pleasantly surprised at what a good read it turned out to be. The first section on the historical political background of the region was concise, and from my view highly accurate. As an American who learned to see somewhat dimly through Middle Easterners eyes, I found myself thinking "ah-ha" a lot and finally beginning to understand all the politics I had observed many years ago. I am now about half way through the book right now, but I am looking forward to pick it up anytime and it instantly provides a fascinating read. The book seems well researched, and I find myself agreeing with the author almost all the time on his observations. The last time I found myself agreeing with the author of a political book with such regularity was when I read Obama's "The Audacity of Hope".
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