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Challenges for America in the Middle East

Challenges for America in the Middle East

April 2016 | 368 pages | CQ Press
Challenges for America in the Middle East offers a comprehensive and contemporary analysis of the foreign policy challenges the United States faces in the Middle East.  It takes a close look at the critical policy dilemmas posed by radical Islam, the Arab Spring, the Shia Crescent, and Israel­–Palestine relations. Authors Richard W. Mansbach and Kirsten L. Taylor examine the issues from a historical perspective and in the context of the current state of affairs, and analyze options for future action. Throughout the text, they emphasize the interplay of foreign and domestic issues in the United States and overseas, and show how that interplay shapes American policy towards the region. 

Chapter 1: Sources of American Foreign Policy
The Linkage of Domestic and Foreign Policies  
Sources of U.S. Foreign Policy  
Chapter 2: Competing Currents in U.S. Foreign Policy
Competing Currents  
The Past: Competing Currents in Historical Perspective  
The Present: The Impact of 9/11  
Conclusion: Engagement or Disengagement?  
Part I: Arab Spring or Arab Winter?
Chapter 3: America and the Arab Middle East before the Arab Spring
Sources of American Policy toward the Arab Middle East  
The Arabs: World War One and After  
The Middle East and Oil  
The Cold War and the Arab World  
Political Islam  
Conclusion: Political Islam and Democracy  
Chapter 4: America and the Evolution of the Arab Spring
The Arrival of Spring  
Conclusion: The Middle East in an Era of Declining American Power  
Chapter 5: American Options in a Changing Arab World
Conclusion: Spring or Winter?  
Part II: Radical Islam
Chapter 6: Radical Islam: Origins and Evolution
Sources of American Policy toward Radical Islam  
Early Islam  
Sources and Meaning of Radical Islam  
The Origins and Early Evolution of al-Qaeda ("the Base")  
Conclusion: American Foreign Policy and the "Green Menace"  
Chapter 7: America and the War on Terror
The War on Terror Begins  
Al-Qaeda and Islamic Extremism after 9/11  
Regional Terrorist Groups  
Iraq and Syria  
The "War on Terror"  
Human Rights and the War on Terror  
Chapter 8: An End to the War on Terror?
Al-Qaeda and Its Regional Affiliates  
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria  
"Lone Wolves"  
Human Rights: Drone Strikes  
The War on Terror  
Conclusion: Terrorism Persists  
Part III: Israel and Palestine
Chapter 9: America and the Evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conundrum, 1948-1967
The Birth of Israel  
Sources of U.S. Policy toward Israel and the Palestinians  
The Yom Kippur or October War  
The Six-Day War and Its Consequences  
Conclusion: Consequences of the Six-Day War  
Chapter 10: America, Israel and Palestine: The Elusive Road to Peace
American Policy and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process  
Conclusion: What Next?  
Chapter 11: Is Israel-Palestinian Peace Possible?
Two States or One?  
Israeli Settlements  
Hamas and Gaza  
Economic and Resource Issues  
Conclusion: Will It Ever End?  
Part IV: The Shia Crescent
Chapter 12: Early American Relations with Iran and Iraq
Sources of American Policy toward Iran and Iraq  
Iran, America, and Britain until the Iranian Revolution  
The Birth and Evolution of Iraq  
Chapter 13: America and the Shia Crescent: Iraq and Iran
Chapter 14: American Options in Iran and Iraq
Combatting Insurgency in Iraq  
Growing Iranian influence in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East  
America and Its Sunni Friends  
Oil Interests  
Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions  
Israel and Iran’s “Existential Threat”  
Chapter 15: Conclusion: America and the Complex Middle East
The Evolution of American Foreign Policy before the Cold War  
After the Cold War  
Contemporary Middle East Challenges  
What Next?  

Challenges for America in the Middle East helps students understand the environmental factors of Middle Eastern politics as they relate to the principles and ideas of American foreign policy.  The authors present compelling arguments concerning the political reasoning behind American policy actions, as well as policy prescriptions that might be discussed or considered by key U.S. policy actors.”

Mark A. Cichock
University of Texas – Arlington

“Mansbach and Taylor’s book examining the American role in and perspectives on recent developments in the Middle East is needed and timely. The strengths of Challenges for America in the Middle East are its accuracy, balance, clarity, and inclusion of well-considered policy options, which will stimulate and engage students in debates about the alternatives for American foreign policy. The authors have done a very impressive job.”

Sanford Lakoff
University of California, San Diego

“There has long been a need for a book like Challenges for America in the Middle East. The book has the distinction of presenting students with clear policy options, inviting them to debate and reason policy alternatives. Mansbach and Taylor are very knowledgeable in the subject and present their analysis with clarity and confidence.”

Klejda Mulaj
Exeter University

Challenges for America in the Middle East has several strengths, including its fine detail, up-to-date information, and explanation of complicated processes and phenomena.  It does a great job connecting issues addressed in the Middle East to conduct of U.S. foreign policy.  There is a market demand for a book of this kind, and I believe Mansbach and Taylor have filled it.”

Ivan Dinev Ivanov
University of Cincinnati
Key features
  • The historical chapters for each issue offer essential background for today's students, who often have little knowledge of the history of the Middle East.
  • In-depth analysis of current issues in American foreign policy in the region are covered, including the sources of U.S. policies and the reactions of other players in and outside the Middle East region.
  • Chapters analyze the advantages and disadvantages of alternative policy options and provide excellent material for class discussion and debates, as well as paper topics.
  • An overarching analysis of competing currents in U.S. foreign policy highlights the benefits of recognizing that the same factors that influence U.S. policies toward other regions influence U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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