Khalidi dares to use the "e" word in the good, old-fashioned American sense: as a term of reproach. What the United States is doing in the Middle East differs in form from Europe's system of mandates, protectorates, and colonies, but it is empire all the same -- mission civilisatrice yesterday, regime change and democratization today. Khalidi, armed with a deep knowledge of the region, demonstrates that the legacy of past empires has conditioned present-day Middle Easterners to resist outside control, direct or indirect; whatever benefits might accrue to the intrusive outsider come only at great cost. Khalidi takes on the usual topics -- including the geopolitics of oil and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- and offers insightful historical parallels to present a powerful case for a U.S. foreign policy more focused on "soft power."
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