John Waterbury

Capsule Review
2014
John Waterbury

This collection calls into question, not always convincingly, a body of scholarship dubbed “transitology,” which emphasizes the positive role played by civil society during the transitions to democracy in eastern Europe and Latin America.

Capsule Review
2014
John Waterbury

Muasher, a former foreign minister and former deputy prime minister of Jordan, has produced an optimistic liberal manifesto. Ayoob, a political scientist, is more pessimistic and sees looming chaos throughout the region.

Capsule Review
2014
John Waterbury

Migdal’s intriguing analysis rests on a somewhat revisionist take of the main phases of U.S. Middle East policy, which forces readers to reconsider some conventional wisdom.

Capsule Review
2014
John Waterbury

Predicting business as usual is always the safest bet. Davidson follows a riskier path, predicting that the monarchies and emirates of the Arabian Peninsula will collapse within the next five years.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
John Waterbury

Levitt, a former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Treasury Department, focuses on Hezbollah’s operations outside Lebanon in near-excruciating detail.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
John Waterbury

Brown and Rassler argue that the Haqqanis have played a greater role in the region’s anti-American jihad than has al Qaeda.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
John Waterbury

The West should have sensed that something was coming, since systemic changes had already been roiling Arab societies for some time.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
John Waterbury

These studies bring together leading experts on Syrian affairs and conflict resolution. Both studies confirm that the Syrian civil war presents stakeholders with many options, all of them bad.

Capsule Review
Jan/Feb
2014
John Waterbury

This book will be read carefully in Tehran, Washington, and Tel Aviv; Pollack lays out the strategic factors the United States must take into account when deciding how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
John Waterbury

This carefully researched book focuses on food security in the Middle East, especially in the Persian Gulf and on the Arabian Peninsula, but it ranges far beyond that subject to delve into the relative impact of oil and food on international trade and the likely effects of climate change on agricultural markets.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
John Waterbury

Drawing on his experience as a New York Times correspondent, Rohde argues that U.S. policy in the Middle East should rely less on military strength and that Washington should stop throwing aid money at problems in the region.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
John Waterbury

Telhami argues that no U.S. president will make a dent in Arab anti-Americanism so long as Washington maintains its uncritical support for Israel and continues to deploy significant U.S. military forces in the region.

Capsule Review
Nov/Dec
2013
John Waterbury

In both Egypt and Syria, the Brotherhood has been illegal for most of its existence. Despite that, the sibling organizations have practiced meaningful internal democracy within tight hierarchies

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
John Waterbury

The collective Middle East experience of the authors is unsurpassed. Their analysis is terse, and their portrait of U.S. efforts to broker Arab-Israeli peace is bleak.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
John Waterbury

We know precious little about policymaking of any kind in the Middle East, let alone environmental policymaking. These two books help fill the void.

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
John Waterbury

The editors have intentionally chosen two very different regimes to study in order to understand common authoritarian techniques. Their bottom line is clear: “Authoritarianism in the Middle East will survive this transformational moment.”

Capsule Review
Sept/Oct
2013
John Waterbury

All the ingredients for Arab success in research and development are at hand except the political culture and will.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

Louer takes a close look inside Shiite international networks and the efforts to control them, a struggle that pits the official clergy against a group that Louer calls the effendi: lay leaders without religious credentials who nonetheless exercise influence in Shiite communities (Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a good example).

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

Louer takes a close look inside Shiite international networks and the efforts to control them, a struggle that pits the official clergy against a group that Louer calls the effendi: lay leaders without religious credentials who nonetheless exercise influence in Shiite communities (Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a good example).

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

Dawisha is an experienced and prolific historian of the contemporary Arab world. It is puzzling, therefore, that his insights do not come through clearly in this chronicle of the recent Arab uprisings and their aftermath.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

This book is deeply pessimistic about the future of the Saudi kingdom. A coming generational shift in the monarchy—from a son of the dynasty’s founder to one of his grandsons—might lay bare the structural fissures of Saudi society.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Malkasian spent two years in Garmser as a State Department political officer. His rich, shrewdly constructed history of the area shows how tribal elders used the United States and the Taliban as resources in their own turf battles, which often revolved around access to irrigated land.

Capsule Review
May/June
2013
John Waterbury

From his experience as a senior adviser on the U.S. National Security Council, Abrams provides an intelligent and astonishingly detailed chronicle of the George W. Bush administration’s failed attempts at solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is an eloquent and unapologetic advocate for Israel and for American neoconservatism.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2013
John Waterbury

The Leveretts, former U.S. National Security Council staffers, argue that the Islamic Republic is a powerful, rational actor in the Middle East. They conclude that the United States needs a “Nixonian moment,” in which Washington would seek strategic accommodation with Tehran, as it did with Beijing. Most telling, however, the Leveretts’ list of those who get Iran wrong, from neoconservatives to liberal internationalists, leaves out almost no one except themselves.

Capsule Review
Mar/Apr
2013
John Waterbury

Frisch usefully brings international relations theory to bear on the question of Israel’s policies toward its Arab citizens. He concludes that compared with minorities in other ethnonational conflicts, the Israeli Arabs do relatively well. But that will be scant comfort to members of that community.