Synopses & Reviews
With clarity and concision, Juan Cole disentangles the key foreign policy issues that America is grappling with today--from our dependence on Middle East petroleum to the promotion of Islamophobia by the American right--and delivers his informed advice on the best way forward. Coles unique ability to take the true Muslim perspective into account when looking at East-West relations make his insights well-rounded and prescient as he suggests a course of action on fundamental issues like religion, oil, war and peace. With substantive recommendations for the next administration on how to move forward in key countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, Engaging the Muslim World reveals how we can repair the damage of the disastrous foreign policy of the last eight years and forge ahead on a path of peace and prosperity.Cole argues:* Al-Qaeda is not a mass movement like fascism or communism but rather a small political cult like the American far right circles that produced Timothy McVeigh.
* The Muslim world is not a new Soviet Bloc but rather is full of close allies or potential allies.
* There can be no such thing as American energy independence, we will need Islamic oil to survive as a superpower into the next century.
* Iran is not an implacable enemy of the U.S.--it can and should be fruitfully engaged, which is a necessary step for American energy security since Tehran can play the spoiler in the strategic Persian Gulf.
* America's best hope in Iraq is careful, deliberate military disengagement, rather than either through immediate withdrawal or a century-long military presence--in other words, both the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates are wrong.
"Cole has delivered an important book that members of the administration would be wise to read en route to the Middle East."--The American Prospect
"[A] balanced and effective antidote to oversimplified Western views of Islam. . . . manages to prick western misconceptions without taking extremist movements entirely at their own estimation." --The Economist
"[Cole] brings a constructive addition to public discourse." --Publishers Weekly
"Intelligent, clear and erudite. This is a timely and incisive retrospective of the Bush administration's calamitous encounter with the Muslim World by one of the most noted scholars of the subject. Cole looks deep into what went wrong to show the way forward to a new engagement of the Muslim World."--Vali Nasr, bestselling author of The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future
"Juan Cole, distinguished specialist on the Muslim world, delivers his most comprehensive and erudite commentary to date -- covering imperialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, American oil politics, radical Islam and Middle Eastern terrorism. Engaging the Muslim World is the book every educated American should read."--Chalmers Johnson, bestselling author of Nemesis and The Blowback Trilogy
"Engaging the Muslim World is a MUST read, the right book at the right time for anyone who wants to understand 'What went wrong, why, and where do we go from here.' Juan Cole is uniquely qualified to provide a critical, incisive, provocative analysis and commentary that will be welcomed by experts, policymakers and concerned citizens."--John L. Esposito, Professor of religion & International Affairs, Georgetown University and bestselling author of Who Speaks for Islam? and What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam
"Cole provides a comprehensive alternative analysis of the current situation in the Muslim world and reveals how new U.S. policies might succeed in bringing peace where wars now rage. He proves the key role of oil interests in American foreign policy and demonstrates how incorrect or exaggerated ideas now prevalent in the U.S. are about the intrinsic militancy of Islam, and the aggressiveness of Iran. Everyone should read and ponder the facts he presents and the solutions he proposes."--Nikki Keddie, Professor Emerita of History, UCLA and author of Modern Iran and Women in the Middle East
"Juan Cole's depth and breath of knowledge on the Middle East has made him the most prescient analyst of the region's politics. It might infuriate the neocons who are proven wrong again and again, but Cole's insight is invaluable to anyone interested in the truth."-- Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos
"A well-reasoned, useful vision for Western-Muslim relations."--Kirkus
"A leading American expert on the Islamic world, seeks to dispel many of the persistent myths about Islam and the Middle East. Cole convincingly demonstrates why one should not confuse Muslim activism with hidebound fundamentalism. The chapter dealing with Iran is particularly informative and evenhanded, and the analysis of myriad issues in U.S.-Iran relations is a welcome antidote to the barrage of alarmist commentaries on Iran in much of the U.S. press. This readable and intelligent book is a must read for policymakers and the informed public.--Library Journal, starred review “Juan Coles ‘Engaging the Muslim World maps those fault lines, and one can only wish Bush had mulled over such material before the misadventures of the post-9/11 era began. Like Lawrence Wrights remarkable ‘Looming Tower, published almost three years ago, this field guide to the politics of modern Islam traces the history of the different movements, whose violent offshoots are still morphing into new forms.” --New York Times Book Review
"The blog I turn to for insight into Middle East news is often Professor Juan Coles, because hes smart, well-informed and sensible — in other words, I often agree with his take." -- Nicholas Kristof, New York Times "The Obama administration, as it seeks to correct a decade of self-fulfilling phobias, will find no better guide than this nuanced, clear-headed, visionary book.“ --The Huffington Post "I cannot improve on Juan Coles thorough and excellent debunking of the results [of the Iranian Presidential Election]."-- Laura Secor, The New Yorker "Provocative and sweeping . . . Of the three books, Cole's is the most critically rigorous and empirically informed. Agree or disagree, one cannot ignore cole's historically and sociologically driven analysis and moral courage." -- Fawaz Gerges, National Interest "Cole has written a gripping, accessible and elegant book. One of its great strengths is its weaving together a wealth of data into compelling historical vignettes and anecdotes. The author is an excellent storyteller and this book is a pleasurable and entertaining read." --Ziad Fahmy, H-Levant
With clarity and concision, Cole disentangles the key foreign policy issues that America is grappling with today--from dependence on Middle East petroleum to the promotion of Islamophobia--and delivers his informed advice on the best way forward.
About the Author
Juan Cole, internationally respected historian, celebrated blogger, and Middle East expert, teaches history at the University of Michigan and is the former president of MESA. His blog, Informed Comment, receives 250,000 unique hits every day. He has written numerous books, including Sacred Space and Holy War and Napoleon's Egypt. He lives in Ann Arbor, MI.
Table of Contents
Introduction * Chapter 1: The Struggle for Islamic Oil * Chapter 2: Muslim Activism, Muslim Radicalism: Telling the Two Apart * Chapter 3: The Wahhabi Myth * Chapter 4: Iraq and Islamophobia: How fearmongering got up a war and kept it going * Chapter 5: Pakistan and Afghanistan Beyond the Taliban * Chapter 6: Ayatollahs and Caviar: The Iranian Challenge * Conclusion