The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring

Paul Danahar, Author
Paul Danahar. Bloomsbury, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-1-62040-253-5
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-1-4088-4058-0
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-4088-4060-3
Hardcover - 467 pages - 978-1-4088-4057-3
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For decades, America’s foreign policy in the Arab world—ostensibly dedicated to preserving regional stability and ensuring a constant flow of oil—“dealt on very personal terms with the ruling family elite.” Yet “some of those key relationships have gone,” leaving the U.S. at a loss as to how to approach the region at the very moment when engagement is most critical. In his first book, the BBC’s new U.S. bureau chief (previously, bureau chief of the Middle East) explores how revolutionary fervor and growing Islamism are forcing the U.S., Israel, Iraq, and Iran to reassess their priorities and restructure their alliances. Like reactions to the Arab Spring, the book begins optimistically but grows progressively darker. Speaking of post–Arab Spring difficulties, Danahar cogently notes that building a representative democracy is “not a learning curve, [but] a sheer cliff” made all the more precipitous by mixed messages from the international community. (To illustrate this, Danahar juxtaposes Hillary Clinton’s condemnation of “the use of violence by [Mubarak’s] Egyptian police... against protestors” with the fact that the tear gas canisters used by those police sported labels declaring “Made in the U.S.A.”) Danahar’s analysis and projections are incisive and will appeal to policy wonks, while his conversational tone and ability to engage with a wide range of subjects will benefit a general readership. Agent: Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Oct.)
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