The Islamic Challenge and the United States: Global Security in an Age of Uncertainty

Ehsan M. Ahrari, with Sharon Leyland Ahrari. McGill-Queen’s Univ. (CDC, U.S. dist.; Georgetown Terminal Warehouses, Canadian dist.), $34.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7735-4816-9
Ahrari’s comprehensive analysis of the post-9/11 world identifies the central problem between the United States and the Islamic world as the conflict between jihadist and Islamist forces’ rejection of secular order and the U.S.’s role as global “hegemon” and “messianic promoter of secularism and democracy.” The book begins by outlining the trauma of imperialism and the evolution of modern jihadist thought, then details expressions of this conflict in Islamic countries. Ahrari examines how Bush-era interventionism in the Middle East gave way to a more cautious approach under the Obama administration. He also outlines other regional challenges, such as America’s strained relationship with Pakistan, failures in Afghanistan as the Taliban rises again, the implications of nuclear deal with Iran, and potential troubles with the fragile nations of Central Asia should jihadist forces gain ground. This broad analysis may make the book a good primer on Islamist geopolitics, but the abundance of political and historical detail tends to obscure Ahrari’s argument that American “secular fundamentalism” sees Islam’s mixing of religion and politics as a threat. Nevertheless, he argues cogently that American military assertiveness and an obsession with secular democracy may be counter-productive toward building a positive relationship between the U.S. and the Islamic world. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 02/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
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