From Publishers Weekly
In his 1992 work, Quagmire: America in the Middle East, Cato Institute researcher and journalist Hadar predicted that there would be a radical Arab and Islamic fundamentalist backlash against U.S. policies. Thus vindicated, this "political Cassandra" doesn't relent in this penetrating update. Supporting Israel and stationing military forces in Saudi Arabia helped "set the stage for the events of 9/11," he declares, while pushing for democracy in Iraq is the just the latest example of America's misguided adherence to a flawed "Middle East Paradigm." Hadar believes the Iraq War will prove to be a "disaster." Although George Bush, Sr., and Bill Clinton don't escape criticism, he castigates George W. Bush's neoconservative, empire-building "fantasy" as the progeny of a bizarre Queen Victoria-meets-Woodrow Wilson union whose costs exceed its benefits. The way forward for Hadar is "constructive disengagement," exiting the Middle East and, instead, relying on Latin American oil imports, and establishing a European Union-led regional balance of power system. True to form, he also shares more alarming prognostications if the U.S. forges onward in Iraq, including the specter of a crippling blow to the world's only superpower if Arab oil producers decide to trade in their greenbacks for euros, thereby shattering the dollar-driven international economy. Above all, the author displays keen insights into the political and economic imperatives that motivate people who "don't think like us." By melding analytic rigor with journalistic punch, Hadar has produced a significant work, accessible to both area specialists and lay readers.
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Hadar writes with a flair not often found in foreign-policy writing, borrowing heavily from pop culture for his chapter titles and using the perspectives of sociology and the hard sciences to explain and illuminate his points. This style has the effect of pushing the reader outside the worn-out language of the Arab-Israel conflict and the Middle East peace process, and the conventional terminology of foreign policy. His style complements the boldness of his suggestions and the strength of his argumentation in achieving his primary objective: stimulating new thinking about the U.S. role in the Middle East. (Middle East Policy
Leon Hadar's fine book Sandstorm starkly outlines differing U.S. and European interests in the Middle East. His prescription for U.S. disengagement from the region is sound, well argued, and based on an incisive reading of legitimate U.S. national interests. His argument for greater European involvement -- if only for self-defense -- seems irrefutable. Given the internal security and immigration disasters the EC has fastened on Europe, it will be interesting to see if Mr. Hadar's advice is followed or if, as usual, the Europeans are content to hope the alligator eats them last. (Michael F. Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror
You don't have to agree with every observation or proposal in Leon Hadar's book to applaud the bravery and importance of his analysis. The United States needs a fundamental reconsideration of its approach to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East. 'Sandstorm' is a big help in this effort.
Leon Hadar's Sandstorm
provides a tour-de-force of America's past and current engagement in the Middle East and correctly argues that neither neoconservative idealism nor left-ish sentimentalism will fix America's hemorrhaging Middle East problem. He suggests an alternative course - a hard-nosed, interest-driven strategy which would be good for American interests but also good for Europe, Israel, and the broader arena of nations in the Middle East. I highly recommend it.
Hadar makes the lucid and much needed argument that Americans have better choices in the Middle East than the commonplace Beltway establishment options of 'Empire' and 'Empire Lite.'
Leon Hadar bravely predicted many of the consequences that would flow from U.S. involvement in the first Gulf War and was almost alone is doing so. Now he has written another bold book on Middle East issues. He should be read, in part because so few others are willing to explore the issues he tackles.