America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
by Chas W. Freeman, Jr.
A ‘must read’ for anyone with a desire to understand Middle East policy.Admiral William Fallon, former commander, CENTCOM
America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
Chas W. Freeman Jr. is one of America’s most brilliant and experienced diplomats and an outspoken advocate of diplomacy and other measures short of war to address international problems. In America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East, Freeman builds upon an earlier volume on Washington’s Middle East policies to examine the state of U.S. foreign policy in the region since 2010.
Amb. Chas Freeman brings his unparalleled experience, vast erudition, and enormous intelligence to bear on the sorry tale of U.S. Middle East policy.Dr. Stephen Walt, Harvard University
In this volume, Freeman deploys his deep insight and wit to explore the ongoing ramifications of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the complex consequences of the Arab Spring, and the increasing roles played in the region by China and other powers. He also explores possible policy remedies for the United States’ many recent military and diplomatic “misadventures” in the Middle East.
Part 1: The Role of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Is Israel a Strategic Asset or Liability for the United States?
America’s Faltering Search for Peace in the Middle East: Openings for Others?
Failed Interventions and What They Teach
Israel-Palestine: The Consequences of the Conflict
Hasbara and the Control of Narrative as an Element of Strategy
Grand Waffle in the Middle East
Israel’s Fraying Image and Its Implications
Part 2: After the Arab Uprisings: Regression and Anarchy
The Arab Reawakening and Its Strategic Implications
After Abbottabad: Islam and the West
The Mess in the Middle East
The Collapse of Order in the Middle East
Part 3: The Middle East and the World Beyond It
The Challenge of Asia
Change without Progress in the Middle East
The United States, the Middle East, and China
Coping with Kaleidoscopic Change in the Middle East
The Middle East and China
Part 4: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy
Paramountcy Lost: Challenges for American Diplomacy in a Competitive World Order
Nobody’s Century: The American Prospect in Post-Imperial Times
Obama’s Foreign Policy and the Future of the Middle East
The Geopolitics of the Iran Nuclear Negotiations
Saudi Arabia and the Oil Price Collapse
The US and Saudi Arabia: Marriage of Convenience on the Rocks?
Too Quick on the Draw: Militarism and the Malpractice of Diplomacy in America
Conclusion: Fixing the Mess in the Middle East
About the Author
From the first page, he introduces the reader to his literary architecture this way:
Since 2001, Washington has quixotically attempted to exclude both militant Islam and Pashtun plurality from a significant role in governing Afghanistan, while making it safe for homegrown “narcocrats”. And “In 2001, Americans mistook mob rule in the streets of the Middle East for democracy and turned our back on leaders we had previously supported”. And “Sanctions……without bargaining with those on whom they are imposed are diplomatic and military cowardice tarted up as moral outrage”.
There is plenty in these essays and speeches that adds to knowledge of the Middle East and what is wrong in the way America has dealt with it. Ambassador Freeman’s frank criticisms of Israel and America’s unswerving and unstinting support for it are the reason why his appointment to the Intelligence Board was scuppered. Statements like “A predatory state (Israel) with cutting-edge military technology battles kids with stones and resistance fighters with belts of nails and explosives” and “Israel is vigorously engaged in the collective punishment and systematic ethnic cleansing of its captive Arab populations” made him a target of the powerful Israeli lobby. He was equally scathing about the Palestinian authority which “is on the Israeli and American payrolls. It has been appointed to represent the Palestinians by Israel and the United States, but its authority to speak even for the inhabitants of the West Bank is in doubt”. In a speech that he delivered in 2013, titled “Coping with Kaleidoscopic Change in the Middle East”, the Ambassador showed his prophetic skill, warning that, “It is in this context that we must anticipate some expansion of Russian influence in the Middle East”. He also provided advice on prioritizing American diplomacy by “setting an example that others see as worthy of emulation”. Saudi Arabia, Iran, along with Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the other countries in the Middle East get the full treatment from him. Anyone who wants lessons in diplomacy will get the best instruction here– and those with a literary bent will delight in learning how to write beautiful English.
–Turki AlFaisal, former Saudi Ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom; Founder, King Faisal Foundation
–Uri Avnery, Veteran Israeli peace activist; Former member of the Knesset
–Andrew Bacevich, author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
–Amb. William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Former U.S. deputy secretary of state
–William Fallon, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired); Former commander, U.S. CENTCOM; Senior fellow, Center for Naval Analyses
–Thomas R. Pickering, Former U.S. under secretary of state; Former U.S. ambassador to Jordan, Israel, Russia, India and the United Nation
–William R. Polk, Former president of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs
–Acting director of the Future of Iran Initiative, the Atlantic Council
–Stephen Walt, Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard University
America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East is available in Hardcover ($33.99) and Paperback ($19.99)