One certainty in an election year is that D.C. policy wonks publish their advice for the presidential victor (e.g., Madeleine Albright’s Memo to the President Elect, 2008). Pollack, another former Clinton official, here promotes his idea for conducting American foreign policy in the Middle East. On a fundamental level, it is similar to President Bush’s: foster democratization in order to preserve reliable access to oil. However, Pollack presents his program as enlightened change from Bush’s forceful export of democracy (though the author supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq) to one of supporting educational, legal, economic, and political reform. Admitting that his program would take decades to yield a less-volatile Middle East, Pollack finds fault with rival approaches, such as muddling along or making counterterrorism paramount. He writes that the former is risky because he assesses Arab countries of the Middle East to be in a prerevolutionary condition, and criticizes the latter as treating symptoms rather than social problems feeding terrorism. Analytically informed, Pollack illuminates specialists’ debates for general readers interested in the Middle East. --Gilbert Taylor
“Once again, Ken Pollack has plunged into the most complex and controversial issues of our time, offering cogent analysis, clear thinking, and very constructive proposals.”—Richard C. Holbrooke, special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan
“Thoughtful and informative . . . a powerful argument for continued, and perhaps even greater, American involvement in the Middle East.”—The Economist
“One of the most lively and accessible accounts of the modern Middle East and the policies that are needed to turn the region around.”—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.
“Authoritative . . . spells out the full range of threats the United States faces in the region and offers prudent advice on how to defuse them.” —Washington Post Book World
From the Trade Paperback edition.