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Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East

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In 2002, George W. Bush famously referred to Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." The fierce rhetoric highlights the persistent antagonism between the two nations. The standoff has taken on renewed urgency with election of hard-line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president and his bold resumption of the country's nuclear program. Will Iran be the next fr In 2002, George W. Bush famously referred to Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." The fierce rhetoric highlights the persistent antagonism between the two nations. The standoff has taken on renewed urgency with election of hard-line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president and his bold resumption of the country's nuclear program. Will Iran be the next front in America'swar on terror? Iran expert Ali Ansari sets the current crisis in the context of a long history of mutual antagonism. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations, Iran and the U.S. have loomed large in each other's domestic politics for decades. From the overthrow of Mosaddeq in 1953 to the hostage crisis in 1979 and, more recently, the Gulf War and the War in Iraq, both Iranian and American politicians have forged narratives about an "evil empire" lying half a world away. This mutual mistrust has militated against dŽtente between the two nations--and may ultimately lead to war. An authoritative account of failed foreign policy, this book will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this explosive region.


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In 2002, George W. Bush famously referred to Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." The fierce rhetoric highlights the persistent antagonism between the two nations. The standoff has taken on renewed urgency with election of hard-line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president and his bold resumption of the country's nuclear program. Will Iran be the next fr In 2002, George W. Bush famously referred to Iran as a member of the "axis of evil." The fierce rhetoric highlights the persistent antagonism between the two nations. The standoff has taken on renewed urgency with election of hard-line conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president and his bold resumption of the country's nuclear program. Will Iran be the next front in America'swar on terror? Iran expert Ali Ansari sets the current crisis in the context of a long history of mutual antagonism. Despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations, Iran and the U.S. have loomed large in each other's domestic politics for decades. From the overthrow of Mosaddeq in 1953 to the hostage crisis in 1979 and, more recently, the Gulf War and the War in Iraq, both Iranian and American politicians have forged narratives about an "evil empire" lying half a world away. This mutual mistrust has militated against dŽtente between the two nations--and may ultimately lead to war. An authoritative account of failed foreign policy, this book will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand this explosive region.

30 review for Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East

  1. 5 out of 5

    William

    Excellent analysis of Iranian-American relations. Ali Ansari depicts the difficulties that the United States and Iran has in dealing with each other.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Raghdan fawakhiri

    Ali Ansari's historical background and social-psychoanalysis is beyond reproach. But the book has nothing to do with "confronting" Iran. Not even with "understanding" Iran!! The take-away is that Iran has historical grievances and a very fragile national pride that cannot get over these grievances, and the author recommends that the West, and the rest of the world for that matter, should "baby-cuddle" this Iranian wounded psyche. Iranian murders in Buenos Aires and Beirut, Paris and Berlin, should Ali Ansari's historical background and social-psychoanalysis is beyond reproach. But the book has nothing to do with "confronting" Iran. Not even with "understanding" Iran!! The take-away is that Iran has historical grievances and a very fragile national pride that cannot get over these grievances, and the author recommends that the West, and the rest of the world for that matter, should "baby-cuddle" this Iranian wounded psyche. Iranian murders in Buenos Aires and Beirut, Paris and Berlin, should be assessed as temper tantrums rather than terrorist attacks. Iranian aggression against its weaker neighbors should be understood as "logical" imperial behavior, that the West should identify with, rather than "confront" on the basis of: two wrongs don't make right. This Scottish-Iranian author opines that any mistakes Iran does are justified by the historical backdrop, even if mythical. This is a smug opinion that absolves Iran from wrong doing, present or future, since the past cannot, now, be changed. I think this is far more Iranian, than it is Scottish. While I applaud the patriotic spirit of many "Westernized" Iranian writers, Like Ali Ansari here, and Vali Nasr; I cannot avoid the fact that this spirit ends up clouding their critical analysis, and perverts their thinking into propaganda for the Islamic Republic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahsan Butt

    I have translated this book from English into Urdu for Tayyab Publishers, Urdu Bazar, Lahore, Pakistan. The title of Urdu translation is Iran Amreeka Tasadum ایران امریکا تصادم.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pierce

    Brief overview of U.S.-Iranian relations since the mid-19th century, with a focus on the coup in 1953 and Revolution of 1979, and the effects of each on Iranian perceptions of the U.S. and vice-versa. This is an excellent introduction to U.S.-Iranian relations for anyone who is looking to understand today's events in their historical context without having to devote a full semester to its study. To that end, some detail is sacrificed. For brevity, Ansari spends very little time on Persia's/Iran's Brief overview of U.S.-Iranian relations since the mid-19th century, with a focus on the coup in 1953 and Revolution of 1979, and the effects of each on Iranian perceptions of the U.S. and vice-versa. This is an excellent introduction to U.S.-Iranian relations for anyone who is looking to understand today's events in their historical context without having to devote a full semester to its study. To that end, some detail is sacrificed. For brevity, Ansari spends very little time on Persia's/Iran's relationships with other countries. Discussion of British and Russian imperial activities are mercifully limited to those treaties, business relationships, and political meddling that directly influenced (or may have directly influenced) the way subsequent Iranian governments viewed U.S. activities. Ansari writes much better than his editor edits, and I tripped over nearly a dozen silly grammatical errors and typos that might have resulted from the publisher's desire to rush this book into print while it was most relevant. I didn't know much about Iran outside of a very brief study of Persian, and this book influenced my understanding of Iran in a similar way that my attitudes toward the Arabic world changed after I first learned about the Balfour Declaration. All in all, good stuff.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    A brief perspective on US-Iranian relations from the perspective a seemingly neutral observer. As someone with much interest but little knowledge in foreign policy, I thought this book provided great insight into the challenges faced and follies committed by both sides. More generally, the book gave me a greater appreciation for the factors that must align for effective diplomacy to take place between two nations (e.g. a well-educated and well-intentioned corps of diplomats, a political faction A brief perspective on US-Iranian relations from the perspective a seemingly neutral observer. As someone with much interest but little knowledge in foreign policy, I thought this book provided great insight into the challenges faced and follies committed by both sides. More generally, the book gave me a greater appreciation for the factors that must align for effective diplomacy to take place between two nations (e.g. a well-educated and well-intentioned corps of diplomats, a political faction whose interests align with the interests of diplomacy, a neutral press, etc.). Overall, I found this book both engaging and enlightening.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ned Conway

    Great contemporary book on Iran that brings the reader from the time of the Shah to the 1979 revolution to present day. Focus is on US-Iran relations. Very readable but also informative--written by one of the leading scholars on Iran, Ali Ansari. Makes a good case for both the US and Iran significantly misinterpreting/perceiving each other.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judith Bello

    An excellent discussion of how we got to where we are with Iran. Also a discussion of Iranian internal politics and the way their nascent democracy functions. What can we do to improve the relationship. I gained a whole new understanding of the Iranian people and political context from this book. Very enllightening.

  8. 4 out of 5

    nooshisooshi

    Thorough analysis on modern US Iran relations and Iran's relationship with other world powers. Ansari is a known scholar on the subject and weaves many key events/inactions to explain the current situation with Iran. Thorough analysis on modern US Iran relations and Iran's relationship with other world powers. Ansari is a known scholar on the subject and weaves many key events/inactions to explain the current situation with Iran.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    So far, one of best and balanced books on US-Iran relations I've read. So far, one of best and balanced books on US-Iran relations I've read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Belding

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  13. 4 out of 5

    Noah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julian

  16. 4 out of 5

    bamdad sales

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mitday08

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erin Niemela

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jay McCue

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Ahimsa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Tomiczek

  24. 4 out of 5

    Keith

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chirag

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chase Chandler

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael Heise

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colin

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