Praise for America's Misadventures in the Middle East

America's Misadventures in the Middle East has won Chas W. Freeman Jr. received high praise from a range of political luminaries who have a commanding knowledge and influence in the international affairs world.


From Dr. John Duke Anthony, founding President and CEO, National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations:

“Chas Freeman’s important work chronicles a series of American missteps that have immense, multifaceted, and ongoing implications for the United States in the Arab and Islamic worlds—and globally. In so doing, he offers lessons that, hopefully, can be learned from mistakes that have cost no end of American as well as Afghani, Iraqi, Israeli, Lebanese, Palestinian, Pakistani, Somali, Yemeni and other countries and people's lives and treasure. The work is packed not only with uncommon wisdom and profundity of analyses but laced throughout with bold prescriptions for more effective American positions, policies, and actions.”

From Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli peace activist and former Member of the Knesset:

“Chas Freeman is indeed a free man. He has been “sprayed by political skunks,” as he puts it, mainly because of his expert analysis of American interests and policy in the Middle East. He has been accused of being “anti-Israeli”. The question is, which Israel is he “anti”? The Israel of messianic, right-wing fanatics, or the Israel of the sane majority, who, like Freeman, know that only peace, compromise and reconciliation can assure our country’s long-term security and prosperity? As an Israeli patriot, I applaud his extraordinary moral courage and profound insights, and even more so his readiness to pay the price.”

From Hon. Frank Carlucci, Former Secretary of Defense:

“Chas Freeman is one of our country’s best practitioners of diplomacy, an art he argues we have neglected in favor of military options. With unclear goals, the later has cost us good will and prestige around the world; friends have been turned in to enemies. Some will find Freeman’s indictment of our drift from our values too sweeping; all will find Freeman’s book thought provoking and well articulated. He has given us a wake up call. Let’s hope we hear it.”

From Hon. Frances D. Cooke, former U.S. ambassador to Cameroon and Oman:

“This collection of Chas Freeman’s thoughtful speeches on U.S. policy in the Middle East over the past two decades is a treasure trove of information and history for those interested in the region. Not only a senior U.S. diplomat, Chas is a Harvard-trained lawyer, and a history buff. He marshals his facts and his narrative in a very articulately worded “brief” to advance the positions he takes.

You will not agree with all the positions he takes—I surely do not. But you'll be much better informed about the region, and on the Arab perspective on war and peace, and the impact our nation has had on this volatile region. The Middle East is a complicated mosaic—of the ancient and the emerging; the conflicted and the cohesive; the rich and the poor; high-tech and third world. It is of undeniably vital national interest to the U.S., but a region we often understand poorly. You'll come away from reading Chas's provocative essays and speeches with a new appreciation of how very complex the dangerous confrontation is between Israel and the Palestinians.

Chas is a distinguished figure in our nation’s Foreign Service, which was his professional home. Here he focuses on the Middle East, where he first worked during his last tour abroad as a U.S. diplomat. But he is also a universally acknowledged expert on China. He was the primary drafter of the Shanghai Communiqué, which guides US-PRC relations to this day and he was also Nixon’s interpreter during one of the most historic trips abroad any U.S. President has ever taken—to Beijing, in 1972. The fact that Chas is considered authoritative on two very different regions of the world, whose issues, cultures, and languages are viewed as the most difficult by his colleagues, makes him a rare bird in our business.

Chas, a tireless mentor, was inspiring to work with—and for. (I have done both.) Former foreign service officers rarely speak out as Chas has done, in the series of speeches he has given since his retirement from the State Department some ten years ago. We are proud of him, even when we don’t agree with views, because he has found his voice and speaks compellingly on some of the most difficult issues confronting our nation in this new century.”

From Robert Dreyfuss, contributor to Rolling Stone and The Nation, and author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam

"Chas Freeman laces his brilliant, agonizingly detailed account of the slow-motion train wreck that is U.S. policy in the Middle East over the past ten years with plentiful dollops of humor and irony. A long-time senior diplomat, Freeman brings to bear the experience gained from decades as a not-so-innocent American abroad, relentlessly skewering the ignorance and arrogance behind America’s misguided invasion of Iraq, its ever-expanding war in Afghanistan, its willful blindness to the Palestinian tragedy at the hands of the Israeli far right, and its own faux-imperial pretensions. If you don’t know whether to laugh or cry about America’s bungling and ineptitude in this all-important region, you’re certain to do both reading Freeman’s rueful and iconoclastic narrative."

From Jessica Matthews, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

"Behind any successful foreign policy lies fierce clarity about national interest, honesty to see the interests of others, and the sophisticated statecraft that can bring the two together. No diplomat of his generation has a finer intelligence, a better ear to listen, as great a willingness to pierce self-deception or as gifted a pen as Chas Freeman. Insight leaps from every page of this remarkable volume."

From Hon. Thomas R. Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Ambassador to Jordan, Israel and the United Nations

“Chas Freeman’s collected speeches and essays will bring you new and stimulating insights into the Middle East from 1990 to the present - from Kuwait to Afghanistan. He is a master of the apt and well-turned phrase - a delight to read. You probably will not agree with every word you read here, but you ought to read every word to understand the challenges and opportunities for American foreign policy.”

From M.J. Rosenberg, veteran political commentator, now with Media Matters for America:

“If one didn't know better, one would never guess that Chas Freeman is, in any way, controversial (at least in the United States). As is obvious in his writings here, he is an old fashioned American patriot. His views on every issue, his policy recommendations and his biases are consistent. Like a 21st century Theodore Roosevelt he supports positions that he believes are best for the United States. Period. That, I suppose, makes him a foreign policy realist. He takes the world as it is and, where we cannot change it, would tailor policies to the advantage of his country. In fact, however, his policy recommendations would also be advantageous to the foreign countries whose situations he addresses including Israel and the Arab world. Had Chas Freeman been in charge, the American vision of "two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security" would long since have been realized.

But that was not to be, in large part because American policymakers don't understand the US interests and, just as important, are in thrall to a powerful lobby. There is not much we can do about the lobby. Until and unless we somehow achieve public funding of political campaigns, the lobby will reign supreme. But we can at least start to educate our policymakers and the military in particular. As General David Petraeus reminded us, America's one-sided Middle East policies endanger US interests -- including US military interests -- throughout the entire Muslim world. His words made headlines, so much so that Petraeus seemed to pull back a bit. That will not be the case if Freeman's book is widely read. If I could, I'd get this book on the curriculum of every service academy and defense college and university. Our military will pay the price for our wrong-headed policies unless we change them. Freeman shows the way.”