An associate editor at the Financial Times and, from 1995 to 1999, its Middle East editor, Gardner has penned a passionate account of the Middle Eastern despots that U.S. (plus, to some extent, British) actions and inactions have sustained. The usual suspects among states and sects are reviewed, and a final chapter argues for supporting democracy in the Middle East and stresses the imperative of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Last Chance belongs to what might be dubbed the liberal internationalist take on today's Middle East. Gardner deserves a reading because he makes the argument more forcefully than most, he knows his Middle East (and relies on his interviews with leaders conducted over the last several decades), and he is a compelling writer. Any author who uses scorn and irony to great effect and who can weave into his narrative Koranic citations, the medieval Chanson de Roland, and former Iranian President Muhammad Khatami on Alexis de Tocqueville is not to be missed.
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