Iran, Turkey, and America's Future
Times Books, Hardcover, 9780805091274, 288pp.
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
The bestselling author of "Overthrow" offers a new and surprising vision for rebuilding America's strategic partnerships in the Middle East
What can the United States do to help realize its dream of a peaceful, democratic Middle East? Stephen Kinzer offers a surprising answer in this paradigm-shifting book. Two countries in the region, he argues, are America's logical partners in the twenty-first century: Turkey and Iran.
Besides proposing this new "power triangle," Kinzer also recommends that the United States reshape relations with its two traditional Middle East allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. This book provides a penetrating, timely critique of America's approach to the world's most volatile region, and offers a startling alternative.
Kinzer is a master storyteller with an eye for grand characters and illuminating historical detail. In this book he introduces us to larger-than-life figures, like a Nebraska schoolteacher who became a martyr to democracy in Iran, a Turkish radical who transformed his country and Islam forever, and a colorful parade of princes, politicians, women of the world, spies, oppressors, liberators, and dreamers.
Kinzer's provocative new view of the Middle East is the rare book that will richly entertain while moving a vital policy debate beyond the stale alternatives of the last fifty years.
“Fresh and well-informed. . . . Kinzer argues persuasively that despite their very different governments -- one friendly and free, the other hostile and theocratic -- both Turkey and Iran are host to vibrant democratic traditions that make them natural long-term partners of the United States. . . . [A] lively, character-driven approach to history.”--The Washington Post “Because we’re so accustomed to bad news out of the Middle East, trouble seems inevitable. Reset suggests that needn’t be so. But can anybody hear its lucid, historically grounded points above the shouting and the gunfire?”—Chicago Tribune “At once a stern critique of American foreign policy and a concise, colorful, and compelling modern history of Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. A former journalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe, Kinzer is a masterful storyteller. His cast of characters leaps off the page… Kinzer makes a compelling case… that the road to peace in the Middle East runs through Ankara and Tehran, not Jerusalem.”—NPR.org “In Reset, [Kinzer] proposes a radical new course for the United States in the region. The United States, he argues, needs to partner with Iran and Turkey to create a ‘powerful triangle’ whose activities would promote a culture of democracy and combat extremism. . . . Kinzer’s U.S.-Iranian-Turkish alliance is a long-term project, and the idea has ample grounding in the modern history of the region. Unlike other Muslim countries there, Kinzer shows, Iran and Turkey have at last a century’s worth of experience struggling for political freedom . . . [and] share some fundamental values with the United States.”--Foreign Affairs “The main message is intriguing.” – The Economist “An original, unsettling critique . . . [and] an imaginative solution to the Middle-East stalemate.”—Kirkus Reviews “Kinzer re-imagines the world and America’s role in it.”—Robert Lacey, author of Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Terrorists, Modernists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia “Stephen Kinzer’s deep knowledge of the Middle East is complemented by his lucid style and new ideas. He sees Turkey as a key state for the region and the world, suggests new and innovative ways to deal with Saudi Arabia and Iran, and calls for the United States to play a much more robust and determined role in the Arab-Israeli peace process. His historical perspective and trenchant analysis make Reset an informative read for experts and newcomers alike.”—Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and under secretary of state for political affairs “Stephen Kinzer’s Reset argues that contradictory U.S. policies in the Middle East are producing serial disasters. He recounts with verve the dramatic historical events and the vivid personalities that brought us to these straits, and argues for a new realism about the rapid rise of Iran and Turkey as regional superpowers challenging the old, dysfunctional bargains struck in the twentieth century. This book is a must-read for anyone concerned with the future of the United States in the Middle East.”—Juan Cole, professor of history, University of Michigan, and author of Napoleon’s Egypt and Engaging the Muslim World “I read and relished Stephen Kinzer’s Reset – kudos to him for approaching the enduring problem of the Middle East in a fresh way. Even old hands may learn something new in these fluent, timely, and provocative pages.”—Karl E. Meyer, coauthor of Tournament of Shadows and Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East “Does the United States have nothing but bad choices in the Middle East? Stephen Kinzer says we have attractive choices if our leaders will just abandon the premises of the Cold War and look instead at opportunities in front of their eyes. Kinzer elaborates grand ideas in the conversational voice of a story-teller and challenges conventional wisdom in the most reasonable tones. But let the reader beware: He will make you think, and you may never see the region in quite the same way again.”—Gary Sick, senior research scholar, Columbia University, and author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran “A vivid account underscoring the persistent folly of Western, and especially U.S. policy in the Middle East. This is history with bite and immediacy. Yet Stephen Kinzer sees cause for hope: The possibility of change exists if we but seize it.”—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism