Steven's Reviews > Engaging Iran: The Rise of a Middle East Powerhouse and America's Strategic Choice

Engaging Iran by Nathan Gonzalez
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

really liked it
Read in February, 2010

I found this book to be very helpful in laying out the myths of perception we in the west have about Iran. This book gives a concise grounding in the history of Iran, as a pawn in great power struggles and the growth and changes in Shi'a and Islamic faith in the region. I believe the grounding is complete enough that explanations of issues around today's geopolitics are easier to understand and judge.

I like the reminder to plan for long term end states desired in any political conflict. This was so clear in the U.S. adventure in Iraq. And we need to remember this in our dealings with Iran. It is important, as the author points out to us, to paint real images of those we think of as enemies, instead of dealing in stereotypes.

The last section, Part III, is devoted to detailing and proposing new policy approaches between the U.S. and Iran . These include a modified "Nixon Doctrine", approaches to maintaining "American Hegemony" and theories about democracies not going to war against each other. Some conclusions left me questioning some underlying assumptions but I recommend this books for its illuminating and provocative ideas. (earlier posted by me in Amazon)

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