Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future

Stephen Kinzer, Author . Times $26 (274p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9127-4

Kinzer (Overthrow ), columnist at the Guardian , takes an iconoclastic approach in this smart policy prescriptive that calls for elemental changes in America's relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia, and even more remarkably, for the U.S. to find more sensible and natural allies in Turkey and Iran, “the only Muslim countries in the Middle East where democracy is deeply rooted.” This “radical break from diplomatic convention” has its roots deep in the cold war history that Kinzer spends most of the book attentively mining. When he's corralling Middle Eastern history, Kinzer does an excellent job at stitching essential facts into a coherent and telling whole, demonstrating why, for instance, Turkey's recent return to greater religiosity is a victory against “Islamist policies” and how Israel's willingness to do America's dirty work (e.g., selling arms to Guatemala's military regime) tied the U.S. to Israel and Saudi Arabia so powerfully in the past. He's less successful in analysis, though, and is prone to repetition; this astute book builds toward convincing new ideas, but doesn't provide the necessary scaffolding to hold them up. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/19/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
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