OVERRIDE

Beyond America's Grasp

A Century of Failed Diplomacy in the Middle East

Stephen P. Cohen

Picador

Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen traces U.S. policy in the region from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire to the present. A century ago, there emerged two dominant views regarding the uses of America’s power: Woodrow Wilson urged America to promote national freedom and self-determination—in stark contrast to his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, who had advocated a vigorous foreign policy based on national self-interest.

In concise, pointed chapters, Cohen offers a lucid primer on the complexities of the region and an eye-opening commentary on how different Middle East Countries have struggled to define themselves in the face of America's stated idealism and its actual realpolitik.

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PROLOGUE: THE UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE EAST  THE UNITED STATES TAKES THE STAGE AS A WORLD POWER 
When President Wilson went to Paris in 1919, the world was to discover an important limit of American presidential power. The separation of powers in the United States meant that congressional views on foreign policy could not be ignored in negoti­ations with the United States. If the party in control in Congress was not the party of the president, congressional leadership could prevent the president from implementing his foreign policy. This remains a very dif.cult lesson for
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Praise for Beyond America's Grasp

"With his brilliant analysis of the bungled leadership, diplomatic miscalculations, and cultural blindness that have marked U.S. policy in the Middle East . . . Cohen untangles the roots of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. . . . This trenchant, hopeful book should be compulsory reading for President Obama and every member of Congress." —Letty Cottin Porgrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America
 
"In what should become required reading for those interested in the Middle East, Cohen, director of the Institute of Middle East Peace and Development, provides a richly detailed history of diplomacy in the region and its implications for current relations. The book begins with Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic initiatives, which germinated into a 'confused legacy [that] continues to be at the heart of the problem between the United States and the Middle East.' Cohen takes a tour of major players and key events, including Egypt and its nationalist movement, Iran under British imperialism, the roots of a Saudi-U.S. alliance and the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Cohen provides broad suggestions for contemporary diplomacy, generally emphasizing the importance of avoiding a 'one-size-fits-all' policy. He discusses policies in the region of both Bush administrations, and remains timely in presaging the new administration’s diplomatic message. When Cohen concludes, 'To overcome despair over these relationships, which is now so common, requires the elaboration in our imagination of a best-case scenario,' he sounds prescient, and the rigorously researched history he provides make his words ring true." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
 
“A big-picture overview of the long-teetering relationship between America and the Arab nations . . . Cohen makes a magnificent case for the ‘emotional impact’ of Arab defeat in the face of Israeli force, while at the same time scolding those nations for persistence in ‘self-definition by negation of the other.’ Both hectoring and wise, this historical blueprint makes a powerful argument for building mutual respect in the region.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
"A brilliant social psychologist and political analyst who has devoted his entire life to counseling Middle Eastern leaders on how to promote peace, Cohen's Beyond America's Grasp is a model of alternative thinking, a gift of rare wisdom, the fruit of four decades of welding knowledge and experience." —Yaron Ezrahi, author of RUBBER BULLETS: Power and Conscience in Modern Israel

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Stephen P. Cohen

  • STEPHEN P. COHEN, the president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development, has lectured at Yale and elsewhere. For over forty years, he has made 150 trips to the region, and attended the Madrid peace conference and other high-stakes meetings. He lives in New Jersey.

  • Stephen P. Cohen © Lyn Ofrane
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    Beyond America's Grasp

    A Century of Failed Diplomacy in the Middle East

    Stephen P. Cohen

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    Picador

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