Synopses & Reviews
In the spring of 2001, George W. Bush selected Dallas attorney Robert W. Jordan as the ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Jordanand#8217;s nomination sped through Congress in the wake of the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and he was at his post by early October, though with no prior diplomatic experience, as Saudi Arabia mandates that the U.S. Ambassador be a political appointee with the ear of the president. Hence Jordan had to learn on the job how to run an embassy, deal with a foreign culture, and protect U.S. interests, all following the most significant terrorist attacks on the United States in history.
From 2001 through 2003, Jordan worked closely with Crown Prince Abdullah and other Saudi leaders on sensitive issues of terrorism and human rights, all the while trying to maintain a positive relationship to ensure their cooperation with the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. At the same time he worked with top officials in Washington, including President Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, and Tommy Franks. Desert Diplomatand#160;discusses these relationships as well as the historic decisions of Jordanand#8217;s tenure and provides a candid and thoughtful assessment of the sometimes distressing dysfunction in the conduct of American foreign policy, warfare, and intelligence gathering. Still involved in the Middle East, Jordan also offers important insights into the political, economic, and social changes occurring in this critical region, particularly Saudi Arabia.
Of all the countries in the world that are vital to the strategic and economic interests of the United States, Saudi Arabia is the least understood by the American people. Saudi Arabias unique place in Islam makes it indispensable to a constructive relationship between the non-Muslim West and the Muslim world. For all its wealth, the country faces daunting challenges that it lacks the tools to meet: a restless and young population, a new generation of educated women demanding opportunities in a closed society, political stagnation under an octogenarian leadership, religious extremism and intellectual backwardness, social division, chronic unemployment, shortages of food and water, and troublesome neighbors.
Todays Saudi people, far better informed than all previous generations, are looking for new political institutions that will enable them to be heard, but these aspirations conflict with the kingdoms strict traditions and with the House of Sauds determination to retain all true power. Meanwhile, the country wishes to remain under the protection of American security but still clings to a system that is antithetical to American values.
Basing his work on extensive interviews and field research conducted in the kingdom from 2008 through 2011 under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations, Thomas W. Lippman dissects this central Saudi paradox for American readers, including diplomats, policymakers, scholars, and students of foreign policy.
Turkey, which has always held an important position in global affairs, has become even more prominent on the international stage as an economic power and a harbinger of political Islam.
During more than ten years in powerand#8212;an unprecedented tenureand#8212;Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) have expanded Turkeyand#8217;s trade, diplomatic ties, and cultural exports to transform the country from an economically disadvantaged secular state into the first large Muslim nation with a middle-class majority. Erdogan has asserted Turkish influence in high-stakes, high-profile foreign issues from Gaza to Egypt to Syria, often breaking ranks with his NATO allies. Today, from the cafand#233;s of the Arab world to the boardrooms of the G-20, Turkey suddenly matters.
The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Centuryand#8217;s First Muslim Power is a guide to the countryand#8217;s changes, both in its inspiring national potential and in the grave challenges it poses to regional affairs. Structured as a travelogue, each chapter opens on a different Turkish city and captures a new theme of Turkeyand#8217;s transformation. From the Kurdish issue to foreign policy, Soner Cagaptay argues that Turkey needs to successfully balance its Muslim identity with its Western orientation in order to solidify its position as a regional and global power.
About the Author
SONER CAGAPTAY is the Beyer Family fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. A historian by training, Dr. Cagaptay has written extensively on U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish domestic politics, and Turkish nationalism. He has taught courses at Yale University, Princeton University, Georgetown University, and Smith College on the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. From 2006 to 2007 he was Ertegun Professor at Princeton Universityand#8217;s Department of Near Eastern Studies. Dr. Cagaptayand#8217;s work has been published regularly in scholarly journals and in major international print media, including the New York Times
, Washington P
ost, and the Wall Street Journa
l. He has been a regular columnist for CNN-GPS
and Hand#252;rriyet Daily News
, Turkeyand#8217;s oldest and most influential English-language paper, and he appears frequently on radio and television in the United States and abroad.