In This Review

America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
America’s Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East
By Chas W. Freeman
Just World Books, 2016, 256 pp

Freeman brings to bear his considerable experience as a senior-level U.S. diplomat in this collection of addresses he has delivered in recent years, which appear designed to entertain as much as to enlighten. His main message is that the United States has made fundamental and perhaps irreversible blunders in its Middle East policy, of which its “abject failure” to secure peace for Israel and statehood for the Palestinians is the most egregious. Freeman pins the blame for that on the subservience of U.S. policymakers to self-destructive, obdurate counterparts in Israel. More generally, Freeman laments what he considers to be Washington’s abandonment of diplomacy in favor of war-making and sanctions regimes that he regards as counterproductive. And then there is the damage at home in the United States: conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, Freeman argues, have led to the erosion of constitutional norms of privacy and put the country on the path to becoming a garrison state.