A Choice of Enemies

America Confronts the Middle East

Publisher: Anchor Canada
The United States is locked into three prolonged conflicts without much hope of early resolution. Iran is pursuing a nuclear program; the aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has seen unrelenting intercommunal violence; and the Taliban have got back into Afghanistan. George W. Bush will almost certainly leave office without solving any of these big foreign policy issues that have defined his presidency. Sir Lawrence Freedman, distinguished historian of 20th-century military and political strategy, teases out the roots of each engagement over the last thirty years and demonstrates with clarity and scholarship the influence of these conflicts upon each other. How is it that the US manages to find itself fighting on three different fronts?

Freedman supplies a context to recent events and warns against easy assumptions: neo-conservatives, supporters of Israel and the hawks are not the sole reasons for the failure to develop a viable foreign policy in the Middle East. The story is infinitely more complex and is often marked by great drama. Unique in its focus, this book will offer new revelations about the history of the US in the region, and about America’s role in the wider world.

A Choice of Enemies is essential reading for anyone concerned with the complex politics of the Middle East and with the future of American foreign policy.

“Freedman is not just a good historian but a terse, readable writer.” Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times (UK)

From the Hardcover edition.


Choosing Enemies

When war comes, choosing an enemy is normally the least of a government’s problems. The choice tends to be obvious. Speaking after the “unprovoked and dastardly” Japanese attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,...
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“A fast-paced introduction for lay-readers and a fresh analysis that will appeal to experts. . . . Gives an unrivalled sense of all the pressures and trade-offs facing American presidents.”
Financial Times

“Provocative. . . . [Freedman] has assembled an impressive array of sources and presents them well. . . . Freedman has provided an expansive yet tightly written overview of a complex topic and made good sense of it.”
Foreign Affairs