- ISBN13: 9780385516112
- Condition: NEW
- Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.
In a provocative, timely book, a noted journalist and expert on Arab-American affairs overturns long-held Western myths about the Arab world, and offers a doctrine to help the United States correct its assumptions concerning the region.
Wanting to know why September 11 happened, journalist Lee Smith moved to Cairo. There, he discovered that the standard explanation-a clash of East and West led to the attacks-was simply not the case. As Smith outlines in The Strong Horse, the problems of the Middle East have little to do with Israel, the United States, or the West in general. The strife exists within the Arab world itself.
Through clear-eyed analysis, Smith explodes the many myths permeating Americans’ understanding of the Arab world: colonialism spurred the region’s ongoing turmoil; Arab liberalism is waiting for U.S. intervention; technology and democracy can be transforming. In response to these untruths, Smith offers what he terms the “Strong Horse Doctrine”-that Arabs want to align themselves with strength, power, and violence. Given America’s ongoing interest in the Middle East, Smith says America needs to be the strong horse in order to reclaim its role there, and only by understanding the nature of the region’s ancient conflict can we succeed.
The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations
5 thoughts on “The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations”
The writer makes some valid points in regards to the situation in the Middle East. But the majority of his arguments are biased beyond belief, and lacking in any real supporting information.
I would have loved if the author would have put more of an effort in his research, instead of giving observations that are in themselves inaccurate.
Rating: 3 / 5
This book takes a fresh approach to the problems of international terrorism based in the Middle East. That is, it provides a cultural context for the violence and puts responsibility for it on those who facilitate and support it.
Violence is the norm for Arabs of the region, whose culture is based in tribalism, says the author. There is no non-violent mechanism for the transfer of power from one ruling regime to another in the Arab states. One tribe, the strong horse, rules until it is overcome by violence, and most of the machinations that result in international terrorism are the result of conflicts between Arabs. These conflicts have little to do with what the US or other Western countries have done. International terrorism in the region is Arab politics writ large, inflated by oil money and the need for oil.
Rating: 5 / 5
Just finished this fine book and I can honestly say it was a great read! Politically incorrect which makes it all the better!
Interesting points about the backwardness of Arab Culture even before the advent of Islam which seemingly has even further retarted the Arabic world…but to be fair, Arab Culture tragically has been quite backwards for thousands and thousands of years with no end in sight!
Interesting cast of characters also in this book which the author has befriended! Very diverse and thought provoking!
The only criticism I have of this book I wish it were longer….there is much much more that can be said about this part of the world!
Rating: 4 / 5
As someone who has lived in the Middle East for over thirty- five years and followed its daily events I can attest to the truth of this book’s fundamental thesis: i.e. It is not American foreign – policy which is responsible for the endless conflicts in the region, but rather its own historical cultural and political heritage. The tradition of the few ruling the many, of the strong ruler who manipulates the mass in order to stay in power, of the most violent and powerful being the ones admired and followed, is still in place. It is the strong horse not the weak which the great majority of the people in this region admire. Smith details the situation in the respective Arab countries and shows how they are simply not ready for the kind of democratic revolution the West, and primarily the United States would bring to them. Smith is as I understand it, calling for a more modest and realistic American foreign policy, one which in taking into account the inherent problematic character of the region does not entangle itself unduly in impossible tasks which can only lead to disappointment and disillusion.
This work is painful but realistic wake- up medicine for idealistic dreamers (Who in some cases consider themselves political ‘realists’) but really do not understand what the region is about.
Rating: 5 / 5
I’ve lived in the Middle East at the time of the Camp David accords. I traveled, making a point to talk with both Arabs and Jews. The book fits well with what I discovered and offers far more detail. It’s one of the best books in print on the culture and politics of the Arab world.
–Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II
Rating: 5 / 5