The Search for al Qaeda and Restoring the Balance reviewed 1/18
The January 18th issue of the New York Times Book Review includes reviews of The Search for Al Qaeda and Restoring the Balance. From the review of The Search for Al Qaeda by Bruce Riedel and The Duel by Tariq Ali:
The pros and cons of continuing or escalating the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan can be gleaned from two recent books, “The Search for Al Qaeda” by Bruce Riedel, a former C.I.A. analyst and adviser to three presidents, and “The Duel” by Tariq Ali. One thing they agree on—and which was underscored by the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai—is that Pakistan is going to be at the forefront of foreign policy concerns for the Obama administration.
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Riedel manages to distill the essence of Al Qaeda in just 150 pages. Among other things, he notes that the Islamic fundamentalists do not hate America’s values, only its policies.
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Which man is right, which one wrong? Whatever the case, their books are a starting point for a much-needed debate.
From the review of Restoring the Balance by Richard Haass and Martin Indyk:
Beginning in July 2007, two of this country’s pre-eminent Middle East policy research institutions, both with close ties to the incoming administration, the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations, took the rare step of joining forces and asking 15 of their scholars to focus on the crucial challenges facing the next president. The results are collected in “Restoring the Balance,” a thoughtful and nicely structured collection of seven essays that examine the Iranian challenge and its many parts.
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The Middle East is rich in awkward realities. Still, whether or not this plan will succeed, much of it will probably be attempted. In that sense, “Restoring the Balance” is a very useful and readable introduction to the thinking beyond the coming shift.