America and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests?

America and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests?

by Fawaz A. Gerges
     
 

This book chronicles the policy debates on Islamism in the United States over the course of time, providing a comprehensive account of the origins of policy, followed by a balanced critique and recommendations for change. It delves deeply into the U.S. political scene to analyze the historical, political, cultural, and security issues that might help explain America's… See more details below

Overview

This book chronicles the policy debates on Islamism in the United States over the course of time, providing a comprehensive account of the origins of policy, followed by a balanced critique and recommendations for change. It delves deeply into the U.S. political scene to analyze the historical, political, cultural, and security issues that might help explain America's preoccupation with Islam and Muslims. Furthermore, the author sheds much light on the multiplicity of regional and international factors, such as the political decay of Middle Eastern regimes and the end of the Cold War, that shape the thinking of U.S. officials about the contemporary Islamist phenomenon. In addition to examining the domestic, regional, and international context of U.S. Islam policy, the book applies and tests the pronouncements of U.S. officials in four representative case studies - Iran, Algeria, Egypt, and Turkey - allowing decision makers and the shapers of foreign-policy opinion to speak with their own words. Finally, the author addresses the clash-of-civilizations debate and assesses the relative weight that culture and values have on the words and deeds of U.S. officials concerning political Islam.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is the product of many years of research and reflection on the relations between the West and the Islamic world. It deals with a subject that is not just topical but really important. Fawaz Gerges is uniquely well qualified to write about this subject. He combines deep insight into Middle East politics with a subtle and sophisticated analysis of US policy towards political Islam. His book should be of great interest to students, policymakers, and general readers." Avi Shlaim, St. Antony's College

"Gerges' level-headed analysis superbly reveals the discrepancies between American words and American deeds. Though one might despair of our country ever having a coherent Middle East policy, dispassionate and thorough insight like this could be the beginning of wisdom." Richard Bulliet, Columbia University

"Fawaz Gerges has made a significant contribution to our understanding of U.S. policy toward the Islamic political currents sweeping across the Middle East. One of the many outstanding features of this book is its balanced and remarkably well-informed account of American policymakers at work, torn between democratic idealism and pragmatic security concerns, struggling to comprehend a complex ideological force which they find threatening yet which they dimly realize requires some kind of inclusion in the authoritarian politics of Middle Eastern regimes friendly to Washington. I found his treatment of the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton policies to be both fair-minded and critical. His policy recommendations are cogent and deserve serious attention. This book is a valuable addition to the literature on American foreign policy in general and our Middle East policy in particular." Michael C. Hudson, Georgetown University

"Fawaz Gerges has written a major critical evaluation of American policy towards the Muslim world that will serve to define public debates on the subject. Based on a meticulous reading of official documents and statements and supplemented with interviews of key decision-makers, he provides a guide at once thought-provoking and instructive to both American rhetoric and policy. Drawing on a deep knowledge of events in the Islamic world as well as insights into the foreign policy making process, Gerges documents the continuities and discontinuities that have marked the US response to a politically mobilised Islam. In the process, he sounds a salutary cautionary note about the dangers of assuming, even implicitly, that 'Islam' constitutes a radical challenge to American interests." James Piscatori, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

"Gerges presents the first full-length account of perhaps the most ideological and exciting foreign policy debate of our time—how the US should respond to Islamism. He does so in a clear and well-informed way...Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521630429
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2009
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.83(d)

What People are saying about this

Richard Bulliet
Gerges' level-headed analysis superbly reveals the discrepancies between American words and American deeds. Though one might despair of our country ever having a coherent Middle East policy, dispassionate and thorough insight like this could be the beginning of wisdom.
— Columbia University

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