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.
"University of Michigan history professor and blogger Cole (Sacred Space and Holy War) takes aim at the Bush administration's 'Islamophobic discourse,' highlighting that some of the very people who promulgated the phobia (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld) once sang a different tune. He calls instead for evenhanded and pragmatic policy changes, not least a reckoning with the heterogeneity of the Muslim world. Yet for all his expertise, Cole fails to source some of his harshest accusations; moreover, for a scholar championing greater subtlety of thought, he too often discards nuance himself. To the extent that Cole argues against painting the Middle East with overly broad strokes, he brings a constructive addition to public discourse; his failure to be consistent is a lost opportunity." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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.
Western society is suffering from Islam Anxiety—the product of fear-mongering and misinformation. There is a desperate need to debunk the myths concerning Islam in order to improve the political and ideological understanding between Muslim countries and their Western counterparts. Juan Cole, already celebrated for his rejection of stereotypes and his insistence on taking all perspectives into account, carefully sorts through and addresses all the major issues in Western - Muslim relations, including: terrorism, gas and petroleum dependence on the volatile Oil Gulf, the uncertainties of the Iraq War, and the little-understood regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
With clear-eyed determination, Cole separates spin from fact, providing substantive recommendations for the next administration on how to engage with key countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Finally, Cole 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.
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