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Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1403967244 ISBN-10: 1403967245 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; First Edition edition (June 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403967245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403967244
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Review

"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."
--James Fallows, National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly

"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."
--Steven Clemons, Executive Vice President, New America Foundation

"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.'"
--Scott McConnell, Executive Editor, The American Conservative

"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."
--Charles William Maynes, President, Eurasia Foundation

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's very readable and thought provoking.
Gertrude B. Wolf
He began by quoting from a previous book of his, "Quagmire," which was an eerie experience, in that the excerpts could have been written yesterday.
Morris Berman
Hardar knows the complex history of the Middle East, and that gives his book much authority.
Nicholas O. Berry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Morris Berman on July 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first heard Leon Hadar talk about "Sandstorm" in a lecture he gave in Washington DC on 9 July 2005. He began by quoting from a previous book of his, "Quagmire," which was an eerie experience, in that the excerpts could have been written yesterday. Thus, in the early nineties, Hadar predicted an Arab backlash against U.S. policies in the Middle East unless we acted to change those policies. Of course, nothing was done, and the result is obvious.

From the vantage point of the large power blocs, Hadar's diagnosis and remedy are quite rational, and it is to his credit that he doesn't believe for a moment that the United States will follow his commonsense advice. Churchill once remarked that the United States could always be counted on to do the right thing after it had exhausted all of the alternatives, and our strategy in the Middle East is no exception. Instead of changing our faulty, Cold-War-derived paradigm, which dictates that we shall foolishly try to dominate the region, we shall (says Hadar) eventually be caught up in a "destructive disengagement"--U.S. defeat and withdrawal. Change not by intelligent understanding and action, in other words, but by not being able to win the unwinnable. (What did we really learn from Vietnam, one has to ask.)

Our Mideast paradigm or policy makes no sense, and most Americans seem to be unaware of the fact that if you factor the price of two Gulf wars and a pax americana in the Middle East into the cost of gasoline, the real price at the pump is far in excess of the $2.50 a gallon we are currently paying. As for American policymakers, since they seem to believe that every problem in the world is or should be an American one, we are effectively up the proverbial creeek. Defeat and withdrawal become the only "options.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By crx255 on February 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although I do not quite agree with all of the conclusions arrived at in Sandstorm, the book deserves nothing less than five stars for its discussion of a wide range of issues surrounding the Middle East and its information and commentary on modern Middle East history. This is a great read for anyone interested in, among other things, the European-American dispute over Middle East policy, the neoconservative strategy for the region, problems associated with maintaining hegemony in the Middle East, the truth about oil, Arab and Israeli lobbyists in Washington, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which there is a wealth of sound analysis. Hadar's book presents many facts and makes many strong points that clearly refute prevalent thinking on many of these and other related issues.

Hadar refers to the decades-old U.S. policy in the Middle East that originated during the Cold War era, and which he contends was suitable for the circumstances of the Cold War, as America's Middle East Paradigm, or MEP. The basic purpose of the book is to show that the high level of intervention the MEP requires is no longer necessary with the Soviet Union gone.

Here are some of Hadar's most important points:

U.S. interests are being damaged by the continuing involvement in the Middle East, which tends to only create new problems, e.g. the funding of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s gave birth to Al-Qaeda and, more recently, a Shiite fundamentalist government has risen to power in Iraq thanks to the removal of Saddam's military regime.

There is an inherent contradiction in the Bush administration's agenda of imperialism and spreading democracy, because the U.S.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hussain Abdul-Hussain on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sandstorm is an alternative view of the American foreign policy in which Leon Hadar argues for what he describes as the gradual disengagement of the United States from the Middle East.

Hadar argues that over half a century now, America has been taking the main brunt of defending oil sources in the Middle East while this oil does not supply more than 17 percent of America's annual consumption. Compare this figure to that of funds the US spends annually on securing these oil barrels and one would conclude that - unlike how it is described - the Middle Eastern oil is not as cheap for America.

Accordingly, Hadar suggest that the US abandons its Cold War policy in the Middle East in favor of a more realistic and pragmatic policy that gives a bigger role to the Europeans there.

The book is overall interesting since it is one of the few works that give an alternative to the two dominant schools of foreign policies in the US namely Kissinger's policy of détente and maintaining status quos and that of the neoconservatives and their plans of redrawing the map of the world and engineering societies and their fates.

The book's style does not flow and a number of ideas are repeated in more than one place but overall, Hadar makes points and arguments that are worth examining.
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