Acrisis in America’s foreign policy is a crisis for the whole mankind, since the use or misuse of its immense, unmatched power affects everyone. Waris Shere has done valuable work in collecting articles by 25 noted scholars, statesmen and diplomats about the situation arising from the terrorist attack in New York in 2001 and the subsequent American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The objective of the book is not to condemn the US’s actions but to understand the present situation and formulate rational suggestions for solving the problem. He has made an excellent selection.
We have Akbar Ahmed here and Karamatullah Ghori, Bernard Lewis and Richard Haass. There is an excellent piece by Barnett Rubin on Afghanistan. And Solana, with his murky diplomatic method, has not spared us his inanities, while Huntington has obviously not learnt anything new.
The main thing is that, while each has spoken of terrorism, none has attempted to define it. Most have offered advice to the US on what to do about the situation it has got into, without digging up the past.
Akbar Ahmed appears to accept that the West’s contention with the Muslim World may have, mainly, an ideological content, although concrete social relations always take primacy over consciousness.
Zbigniew Brzezinsky, who has contributed one of the best essays, does not question the US’s basic aim in the Middle East. He examines how it could be pursued at a lower cost and with a longer impact.
John Deutch is worried about nuclear proliferation but is equally clear that restriction on the spread of nuclear weapons cannot mean the US giving up such weapons.