cover image Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East

Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East

David Rohde. Viking, $27.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-670-02644-9

A veteran journalist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and onetime Taliban captive, Rohde is no stranger to the volatile regions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. He draws upon his experiences (and those of his colleagues) to compile a series of prescriptions and policy alternatives for improving American relations with Muslim countries and their restive populations, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring. Foremost among his recommendations are increased trade and investment, as well as “local involvement, realistic goals, and long-term commitments.” Rohde (A Rope and a Prayer, coauthor) champions the private sector as savior and envisions the U.S. State Department as a facilitator of entrepreneurship and education opportunities abroad. He also insists that America must rehabilitate its own “decayed and dysfunctional civilian agencies” (e.g., USAID), and cease to rely on awarding “megacontracts” to third parties. These recalibrations would ostensibly bolster those who “embrace democracy, modernity, and globalism” while helping to moderate Islamists, whom Rohde views as distinguishable from Salafists. Still, while advocating for more engagement, Rohde is sufficiently pragmatic to acknowledge that targeting terrorists and fostering economic growth must go hand in hand. Readers interested in American foreign policy and sustainable development will appreciate the book’s substance and approach. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wylie Agency. (Apr. 18)