39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Wake - up medicine,
This review is from: The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Hardcover)
As someone who has lived in the Middle East for over thirty- five years and followed its daily events I can attest to the truth of this book's fundamental thesis: i.e. It is not American foreign - policy which is responsible for the endless conflicts in the region, but rather its own historical cultural and political heritage. The tradition of the few ruling the many, of the strong ruler who manipulates the mass in order to stay in power, of the most violent and powerful being the ones admired and followed, is still in place. It is the strong horse not the weak which the great majority of the people in this region admire. Smith details the situation in the respective Arab countries and shows how they are simply not ready for the kind of democratic revolution the West, and primarily the United States would bring to them. Smith is as I understand it, calling for a more modest and realistic American foreign policy, one which in taking into account the inherent problematic character of the region does not entangle itself unduly in impossible tasks which can only lead to disappointment and disillusion.
This work is painful but realistic wake- up medicine for idealistic dreamers (Who in some cases consider themselves political 'realists') but really do not understand what the region is about.