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Challenges for America in the Middle East

Challenges for America in the Middle East

June 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

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