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Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 11, 2009
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About the Author
Analyst and former journalist David Makovsky is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of Making Peace with the PLO.
Top Customer Reviews
Dennis Ross and David Makovsky were both staff members of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an offshoot of AIPAC (the America - Israel Public Affairs Committee) the very powerful pro-Israel lobbying group. Their book defines Middle East policy issues as supporters of Israel's policies would like to see them defined.
The book presents Middle East issues from an exclusively Jewish viewpoint. Nearly half of the book, up to page 123, mainly presents an extensive history of the US-Israel relationship from 1948 to the present, including detailed presentations of the views of Israel's supporters in the US government. In contrast, while three chapters (Chapters 7,8,9) are devoted to Iran, Ross and Makovsky make no attempt to study or describe the political history of Iran or its relationship with the US. Iran's `Islamist Revolution of 1979' which expelled the Shah of Iran, receives just that two-word description `Islamist Revolution' - with no attempt to explore or describe what forces were at work. The pivotal 1953 coup, engineered by the US Central Intelligence Agency, which overthrew Iran's government headed by Mohammed Mossadeq, is not even mentioned (read All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer). Politics in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or Syria receive not a word.Read more ›
Okay here is my beef with the Iran related chapters:
1-The authors had me until they came to discuss the so-called Iranian Fax message on pages 188-189. The author implies that the United States spurned a legitimate Iranian offer to settle all debts, so to speak, by striking a "grand bargain" and this offer supposedly came in 2003 via a Swiss Diplomat named Tim Guldimann. The offer is often cited by the leftists as evidence that President Bush's administration recklessly flopped a legitimate opportunity to engage in meaningful dialog with Iran. But again, this is nonsense. As AEI's Iran expert Michael Rubin has explained (michaelrubindotcom) , the Guldimann memo was the work of a wishful thinking, freelancing, Western diplomat, and not a serious attempt by the Iranians to strike a deal. And guess who took that fax message to the US officials? A well-known Iranian regime agent named Trita Parsi whose organization is funded by the Iranian regime. So the authors lost credibility the moment they started discussing this fake grand bargain offer.
2- The authors want us to believe the Iranian regime is just like any other functioning government/state. The authors of this book fail to understand one thing: That the Iranian regime leadership/mullahs DO NOT care about the well-being of the Iranian people.Read more ›
The authors early on point out that Middle-East diplomacy must be addressed in the larger context of China, Russia (seeking a role as counterweight to the U.S.?, nervous about its own Muslim inhabitants), and Global Warming (the Middle East can undercut initiatives if they lower prices).
Clearly, the preeminent threat of our time is that radical Islamists may get their hands on a nuclear weapon. In addition, say the authors, it remains unlikely that Islamists extremists who embrace suicide bombing are deterrable. While perhaps true, downgrading the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from top priority in the context of terrorism seems extremely dangerous, given Bin Laden and others listing it as a prime grievance. On the other hand, the authors do make the case that this 60-year-old conflict is not the answer to every Mid-East problem - eg. the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), and Gulf War I and II had no connection to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
"The main opponents of Arab-Israeli peace . . . primarily the Islamists" is a statement that suggests a serious bias on the author's part - no documentation was given. Though the book repeatedly slams Bush II policies in the area, this statement creates wonder that the authors would have done better. Further, at no point do they depict Israelis as a source of problems - even their continual building of settlements.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Clearly written and without the propaganda normally associated with the Middle East. Ross is clearly an authority on this subject.Published on October 19, 2013 by Ellery Block
A highly informative, well-balanced book by authors with intimate knowledge and at-hand experience. Highly recommended, although not always easy reading.Published on June 13, 2010 by George H. Koenig
I found this book very frustrating. Throughout the book, I felt as though Ross and Makovsky are largely on a soapbox about how they are essentially better informed and 'get it'... Read morePublished on March 22, 2010 by M. Werner
It is striking how superficial this book is! With all due respect to the authors, I find the theories provided by this book about the causes and nature of the Arab-Israel conflict... Read morePublished on January 16, 2010 by Najeeb M. Elhatoum
In the Middle East there are three main problems: Afghanistan/Pakistan and the Taliban and al-Qaeda in those two countries, Iran and their nuclear program, and the... Read morePublished on January 1, 2010 by Will
Every year, we get treated to a torrent of banal, predictable books about the Middle East. Occasionally one floats above the flotsam to offer not only real insight, but genuine... Read morePublished on November 18, 2009 by J. A Magill
This is a well written, easy to understand and balanced look at the U.S.A.'s approach to the problems in the Israel/Palestine conflict and the current situation with Iran. Read morePublished on October 8, 2009 by Michael Dods
This is one of the finest books written on this subject. It is concise, detailed, factual and non-political. The authors bring tons of knowledge and experience to this book. Read morePublished on September 5, 2009 by Dennis Fleishman