War and Peace in the Middle East: A Critique of American Policy

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War and Peace in the Middle East: A Critique of American Policy

By Avi Shlaim
Whittle Books, 1994
147 pp. $17.95

Neoconservatives and partisans of Israel are unlikely to find much common ground with the author of this critical, sometimes polemical book about American policy in the Middle East. Shlaim is a committed regionalist who blames Cold War globalists for misreading the realities of the Middle East. He also argues for a more evenhanded policy in support of Arab-Israeli peacemaking, favoring the Bush-Baker approach over that of the Clinton crowd. Whatever one may think of some of the particular criticisms that Shlaim makes, he is surely on target when he talks about the illegitimacy of the state system that emerged from the post-Ottoman settlement as an enduring source of instability in the region, and he makes good sense when he argues that Arab-Israeli peace will open the way for democracy and more accountable governance in the Middle East. This briskly and sometimes carelessly written essay is bound to provoke controversyand was surely intended to do so.

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