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The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower Paperback – August 18, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
—John Perkins, author of the New York Times bestseller Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
“The most important and original book on the Middle East to appear in many years. Baer’s subject is the growing power of Iran; his goal is ending the pattern of American failure; his message is that we’ve been backing the wrong horse. This is a book McCain and Obama should ponder.”
—Thomas Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Man Who Kept the Secrets and Intelligence Wars
"The Devil We Know, Bob Baer has once again peered into the future and has brought back uncomfortable truths that won't satisfy any partisan. But his book does force us to do something that, unfortunately, doesn't come naturally to the chattering classes. Think.”
—James Risen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
“An important text studded with keen insights into a nation about which America remains dangerously misinformed.”
“Timely and provocative...adds an important perspective to a crucial international debate.”
“Challenges conventional wisdom…[a] timely and provocative analysis.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Baer's central arguments depend on our willingness to consider Iran a rational, self-interested country with a structure of leadership beyond the theatrical postures that Americans take for hopeless enmity. Yes, Iran is different, and indifferent to America's self-image of exceptionalism. Yes, Iran does aspire to a leadership in the Middle East, and even to a moderate super-power role in the world at large, which the USA has been and will still be very loath to recognize. However, according to Baer, Iran's aspirations will best be realized by establishing a mode of co-existence and shared influence with the USA, and important people among the Iranians well understand that need.
Once again, according to Baer, the Shia-Sunni antagonism is far more serious and determinant of conflict than Americans yet comprehend, even after the strife in Iraq. Thus the natural rival - even enemy - of Iran is not Israel but rather Saudi Arabia, and one of the reasons for the anger of Iranians toward the USA is the bed-fellow ties the USA has maintained with the Saudi autocracy.Read more ›
Now he takes on Iran and details in very convincing manner (having dealt with Iran for decades) how Iran is much more powerful in the region than we currently believe, and how all this talk of them being the third prong of the "Axis of Evil" that is going to nuke Israel is completely 9/10 thinking.
He correctly summarizes how they, via Hezbollah, were able to beat Israel in the 2006 war and galvanized public support for them. He also points out, which is pretty obvious, how they have immense sway over Iraq and its Shia majority.
What's eye-opening is his pointing out that Hezbollah/Iran hasn't launched a terror campaign (meaning, bombings, kidnappings) since the 80s because there's a "pragmatism" to their thinking and they realized this kind of thing wasn't helping their cause. And what is that cause? To be, and be realized, as the superpower in the region.
NOT to wipe out Israel, not to do anything that the fool Ahmadinejad keeps talking about, not to eventually bring Islam to our doorstep and force it down our throats.
The epiphany of the book is that Baer positions Iran not as an enemy to be attacked or feared, but rather a historic opportunity to form an alliance in the region.Read more ›
The complete lack of footnotes in the book is a problem, but one cannot entirely dismiss Baer's arguments because of it. He clearly has substantial knowledge and experience in the region, but he is not infallible.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I learned a lot about the Middle East and Iran. I am dismayed by the way the US deals with the Middle East and wonder why our diplomats and government do not have better insight... Read morePublished 1 month ago by paula
The first part of the book detailing the history of Iran was outstanding, but then the analysis of the current situation and future predictions unravels the whole book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. vieux
Easy to read, unconventional approach, and kind of in your face!
This book makes many people uncomfortable and that is the main reason it is a good book!
Good overall but 8 years old. I had to lower my admiration a bit of Bob Baer after reading this. If I first read it 8 years ago when it came out I would of been more impressed. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Adam
I wanted to understand what is going on in the Middle East. This book provides a great background of events over the past couple of decades. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dr R
This book was written by Robert Baer, ex-CIA, who has compiled his knowledge and interviews with world leaders to help explain Iran's position in the world today. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer