WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE

REAGAN, BUSH, AND SADDAM, 1982-1990

A solid but dry academic analysis of how and why the US wrongheadedly tilted toward Iraq and leader Saddam Hussein until the Gulf War. In 1982, notes Jentleson (Political Science/Univ. of California, Davis), the Reagan administration removed Iraq from a list of state sponsors of terrorism. The main reason: leverage against Iran, Iraq's opponent in war. Iraq gained trade credits, military aid, and, in 1984, restoration of diplomatic relations. But, as Jentleson persuasively argues, the ``enemy of my enemy'' is not necessarily a friend. Hussein did not moderate his behavior, but flagrantly violated human rights, pursued construction of an atom bomb, and continued to support terrorism. The author suggests that trade considerations and a wishful State Department outweighed the outrage of Congress. In 1989, President Bush signed a strategic directive pointing toward normalization of relations between the two countries; once again, political and trade considerations outweighed the well-founded doubts of those concerned with human rights and nonproliferation. Jentleson also criticizes the inept accommodation US officials offered as Hussein prepared for his invasion of Kuwait. The author follows his case study with a prescription for appropriate strategy in such ``enemy-enemy- friend'' cases: Policy makers should ensure reciprocity (a rough equivalence in mutual benefits) and proportionality (the support offered should not allow the ``friend'' to be too powerful); they should also maintain deterrent credibility (a willingness to leave the alliance). He also criticizes Bush administration ``groupthink'' and federal agencies' failure to cooperate. Jentleson relies mainly on secondary sources where a journalist might have pinned down some of the faulty policy makers in interviews. He also could have offered more context on such issues as the Republican posture toward human rights policy and the importance of Israeli-Arab peace talks. Finally, Jentleson, who has served as an advisor to President Clinton's State Department, avoids commenting on the current US posture toward Iraq. For students, scholars, and policy types.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03665-0

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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