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A renowned historian and security analyst sheds new light on America's quintessential foreign policy dilemma: our recent engagement in the Middle East.

It is in the Middle East that the U.S. has been made to confront its attitudes on the use of force, the role of allies, and international law. The history of the U.S. in the Middle East, then, becomes an especially revealing mirror on America's view of its role in the wider world.

In this wise, objective, and illuminating history, Lawrence Freedman shows how three key events in 1978-79 helped establish the foundations for U.S. involvement in the Middle East that would last for thirty years, without offering any straightforward or bloodless exit options: the Camp David summit leading to the Israel-Egypt Treaty; the Iranian Islamic revolution leading to the Shah's departure followed by the hostage crisis; and the socialist revolution in Afghanistan, resulting in the doomed Soviet intervention.

Freedman makes clear how America's strategic choices in those and subsequent crises led us to where we are today. A Choice of Enemies is essential reading for anyone concerned with the complex politics of the region or with the future of American foreign policy.

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About the Author:
Sir Lawrence Freedman is professor of war studies at King's College, London. In 2001 he was appointed head of the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy at King's and then in 2003 vice principal for research. Before joining King's he held research appointments at Nuffield College, Oxford, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He is the author of several books of history, including Kennedy's Wars.
Review:
Foreign Affairs, July, August
“Provocative new book”

Economist, July, 24, 2008
“Sir Lawrence’s subtle narrative is a marvel of concision, even over more than 500 pages. By the end it cannot but make the reader wonder how realistic it is to advocate... an “integrated grand strategy” capable of being sustained for decades in such a violent and unpredictable part of the world.”  

Survival: Journal of the International Institute of Strategic Studies
“Magesterial...[Freedman] is decidedly level-headed, undogmatic, widely informed about things outside his discipline, and alive to the ways in which governments actually work....Freedman is a great archival historian in part because his grasp of the way decision-makers and bureaucracies interact with each other, their domestic political environment and the wider world enables him to read the fragmentary and self-serving sources more astutely than most scholars. He is also a writer who prefers to work in a jargon-free zone. A Choice of Enemies displays all these virtues.”

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  • PublisherW&N
  • Publication date2009
  • ISBN 10 0753825880
  • ISBN 13 9780753825884
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages640
  • Rating

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