THE LOST SPRING by Walid Phares


U.S. Policy in the Middle East and the Catastrophes to Avoid
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Phares (The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, 2010, etc.) argues that the Obama administration has squandered a good opportunity for spreading democracy across the Middle East and checking Islamism.

The author rehearses many of the criticisms for what he sees as the failed foreign policy of the Obama administration, beginning with the pullout from Afghanistan before the Taliban were roundly defeated and continuing with an “apologist bureaucracy and partnering with the Islamist lobbies.” Phares constantly reminds us that he and the Heritage Foundation, unlike the rest of the Western world, saw what was coming in terms of the Arab Spring and faults the “political apologists” eager to work with the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies. The attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, which Phares also predicted as “doomed to happen,” underscored the Obama administration’s “damaging strategic mistake” in thinking that the political Islamists were any different from al-Qaida terrorists. The author seems to see the threat of jihadism everywhere, although in Egypt, he notes that the removal of the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi by military force was the “goal of the real Arab Spring.” Phares also believes that pernicious influences are infiltrating U.S. education, media and courts—e.g., the lobby coalition led by “Gulf oil circles,” fed by petrodollars and comprised primarily of three parts: Iranian groups sympathetic to Syria and Hezbollah; Arab nationalist lobbies; and the Islamist lobby rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood. All aim to counter pro-Israel activity and “push back against the forces of secular democracy.” The author deeply disagrees with what he perceives as Obama’s “abandoning” of Middle East democrats, and he even offers a chapter on “Romney’s Alternative View.”

Alarmist and unlikely to convince readers who don’t already share the author’s views.

Pub Date: March 18th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-137-27903-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2014


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