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5.0 out of 5 stars US policy - will it ever change ?
Anyone who wishes to understand the wider Middle East, but particularly why there is no settlement for the Palestine/Israel problem, should read this book. The approach is chronological and factual, with detailed sections on the policies of Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George Bush senior, Clinton and George W Bush. There are interesting insights into the...
Published on 13 Oct 2011 by sgeoff

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but tedious read
This book has been written by a journalist and will therefore disappoint those who would prefer to read a sound academic study of American, Middle East foreign policy initiatives, taken from the Suez crises of 1956 to the present time. The work is overburdened with anecdotal content, much of which is almost certainly apocryphal and rather tedious to read. The book...
Published on 9 Mar 2009 by Stuart E. Hopkins


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5.0 out of 5 stars US policy - will it ever change ?, 13 Oct 2011
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sgeoff (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East (Paperback)
Anyone who wishes to understand the wider Middle East, but particularly why there is no settlement for the Palestine/Israel problem, should read this book. The approach is chronological and factual, with detailed sections on the policies of Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George Bush senior, Clinton and George W Bush. There are interesting insights into the US-Saudi relationship, the changing US policies in the Iran-Iraq War, the first Gulf War and G.W.Bush's determination to invade Iraq despite much intelligence which should have disuaded him. On Israel-Palestine, some Presidents like Reagan and George W Bush were very pro-Israel and fairly disengaged from the problem ; others like Carter and Clinton put much US effort into the search for a solution. It is clear that in practice US presients do not (Eisenhower apart) "condemn" Israeli policy, but although Tyler doesn't say so, the facts lead to the conclusion that in return Israeli leaders treat the USA with contempt, for we see them repeatedly and deliberately sabotaging moves towards a peaceful and just solution to a dispute which has fuels regional instability and encourages international terrorism. Tyler gives full coverage to the problems facing the state of Israel, and the dangers they have faced from hostile forces and from terrorism, but again and again we see a totally disproportionate military response in which thousands of civilians are killed and many more maimed and left homeless, whether in Lebanon, Gaza or the West Bank. The leaders who order these actions are often on record as being against any prospect of a Palestinian state, and it is with American weapons and money that these various military operations defeat the efforts of those US leaders who want an acceptable settlement. I'm sure Obama would like a just solution to this destructive dispute, but his recent UN speech, very supportive of Israel, was followed within a day by the Israeli announcement of a further 1100 illegal homes on Palestinian land, actions which make any such peaceful solution increasingly immpossible. His administration's response that this was (merely) "disappointing" and "counter-productive" fits the pattern which Tyler's book factually presents, and leaves the reader with little hope that US policy will ever address the real issues in this region.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The US in the Middle East: A Tale of 7 Presidents, 20 May 2009
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CM Weston (Warsaw) - See all my reviews
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The book addresses the actions of eight US Presidents in the Middle East from Eisenhower onwards - interestingly it omits Roosevelt - heavily involved in the start up of the US - Saudi relationship, and Truman, who was involved in the creation of the State of Israel. The book is really centred over the US/Israel/Egypt/PLO and US/Iran/Iraq relationships.
Of particular interest are the periods involving Carter and Clinton, as well as US involvement in the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980s.
1. Carter. I found the chapter on the Camp David process of interest as well as the relationship between Carter and the then Israeli prime minister, Menahem Begin. Carter was required to considerably "jawbone" Begin into getting him to go along with the peace process. If nothing else had happened, Carter would probably deserve a far higher claim to being a good President by any standards. Alas, events in Iran - the Fall of the Shah, embassy hostage crisis, increase in oil prices arising from events in Iran, were to cause him no end of grief and pain, and to bring his presidency to an ignoble end.
2. Clinton`s relationships with the Israeli premiers, Netanyahu and Barak. With respect to the former, Bill Clinton had notoriously bad relations with Mr Netanyahu and the peace process went nowhere. Today, Mr Barak serves in Mr N`s new government and says Bibi "has matured". We shall see but I would hazard a guess that Mr Obama has no doubt studied the period with some care to divine lessons for handling Mr N who liked to endgame Bill Clinton through the Israel lobby much to Clinton`s chagrin.
3. Also of interest was the "relationship of convenience" between the US and Saddam`s regime to counter Iran. The US provided aid - some military, but also satellite photo intelligence, for the Baathist regime to hold off the mullahs and to curb their interests in the Gulf area. This relationship broke down due to the US seeing no further need to support Iraq in view of the end of the Iran/Iraq war and Saddam`s use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds - the US had no qualms about the use of such weapons against the Iranians, per se. The US ambassador does not appear to have made the US position on Kuwait sufficiently clear to head off an invasion in 1990 and the rest, they say, is history...
Overall, the book is a pacey read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good summary of how we got here., 15 Mar 2009
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A good summary of USA involvement in Palestine. Clear information, especially useful for people who have not seen it develop in their lifetime (ie the young).
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lutyen and the great war, 6 April 2009
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Amazon Customer (galashiels scotland) - See all my reviews
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Lutyens and the Great War
excellent book with very good photographs well worth the money
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but tedious read, 9 Mar 2009
By 
Stuart E. Hopkins (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This book has been written by a journalist and will therefore disappoint those who would prefer to read a sound academic study of American, Middle East foreign policy initiatives, taken from the Suez crises of 1956 to the present time. The work is overburdened with anecdotal content, much of which is almost certainly apocryphal and rather tedious to read. The book contains 628 pages including notes and index. Reading a book of this length, that has not been effectively edited and pruned of superfluous material is an exhausting experience, but the book certainly serves to illustrate the lamentable lack of understanding that has informed and shaped American strategy in the Middle East - "the cracked and murky lens through which US presidents invariably look out at that part of the world." The book draws our attention to an almost complete absence of understanding, on the part those engaged in foreign policy formation, in respect of those customs and practices that shape and form Arab societies; mores which have been most eloquently expressed by David Price-Jones in The Closed Circle, An Interpretation of the Arabs.
Exploration of associated literature, which is voluminous, indicates that those engaged in foreign policy analysis at the subordinate level - at the level of expert analysis and interpretation - certainly possess a clear and distinct understanding of the Middle East and the disparate range of problems that bedevil American relations with the Arab world. There is no dearth of expert advice and guidance of a high intellectual standard, expressed in clear and distinct language. Presumably, those who actually formulate policy, in the upper echelons of the US administration, do not allocate sufficient effort to informing themselves, and thus seem to create policy initiatives in an intellectual vacuum.
My recommendation is that the interested reader should endeavour to `skim' the text, thus ignoring, as far as that is possible, those anecdotal and apocryphal passages, which may be amusing, but which do not really add to a comprehensive understanding of those egregious errors that have influenced American, Middle East foreign policy during the past 50 years.
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A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East
A World of Trouble: America in the Middle East by Patrick Tyler (Paperback - 15 Oct 2009)
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