A World of Trou­ble: The White House and the Mid­dle East – from the Cold War to the War on Terror

Patrick Tyler

  • Review
By – August 25, 2011

Patrick Tyler has ana­lyzed the poli­cies of ten Amer­i­can pres­i­dents on the Mid­dle East and judged whether they have suc­ceed­ed or failed. Most of them have failed.

Tyler, a for­mer for­eign cor­re­spon­dent for The New York Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post, writes with pas­sion and a deep under­stand­ing of both the White House and the Mid­dle East. The book’s strengths also stem from the author’s gifts as a sto­ry teller and the access he has attained to the peo­ple who make his­to­ry and the anec­dotes they have shared.

For exam­ple, Tyler tells the sto­ry of for­mer CIA direc­tor George Tenet, who advised then Pres­i­dent George W. Bush not to go into Iraq, only to have the U.S. invade Iraq any­way. At the time of the sto­ry Tenet is in Sau­di Ara­bia, so angry and frus­trat­ed that all he wants to do is drink a bot­tle of whiskey and go for a swim. And that is exact­ly what he does — in the pool of the King of Sau­di Ara­bia as a guest of the King. Whiskey is con­tra­band in Sau­di Ara­bia, but nonethe­less, the head of the CIA con­sumed half a bot­tle on his own that night.

As engag­ing to read as it is infor­ma­tive, A World of Trou­ble offers a wealth of new details and insights about the mod­ern his­to­ry of the Mid­dle East and U.S. pol­i­cy there.

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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