cover image The Pragmatic Superpower: Winning the Cold War in the Middle East

The Pragmatic Superpower: Winning the Cold War in the Middle East

Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon. Norton, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-393-08151-0

Former State Department advisors Takeyh and Simon offer a new perspective on the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East over the last 60 years. They open with the growing tensions between the United States and its erstwhile ally, the Soviet Union, after WWII, and trace how that relationship fared over the course of 10 crises, including the creation of the state of Israel, the coup that put the Shah into power in Iran in 1953, and the Iranian revolution of 1979, culminating with the First Gulf War. Time and again, the authors puncture entrenched myths, such as the view that American involvement in the toppling of Muhammad Mossadeq made inevitable the ascendancy of the ayatollahs two decades later. While contending that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be the U.S.’s top priority, they persuasively establish that America did not suffer “in the Arab world” because of its alliance with Israel. Their lucid and accessible analyses are of more than academic interest—as they note in their prologue, in the tumultuous 21st century “there is an urgent need to look back at a period when the United States got it right.” [em]Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (Apr.) [/em]