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The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 16. April 2013

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 320 Seiten
  • Verlag: Doubleday; Auflage: New. (16. April 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 038553647X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385536479
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,4 x 3,1 x 24,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 151.683 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Praise for The Dispensable Nation:

“In The Dispensable Nation, Nasr delivers a devastating portrait of a first-term foreign policy that shunned the tough choices of real diplomacy, often descended into pettiness, and was controlled ‘by a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers.’… The Dispensable Nation constitutes important reading as John Kerry moves into his new job as secretary of state. It nails the drift away from the art of diplomacy — with its painful give-and-take — toward a U.S. foreign policy driven by the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and short-term political calculus. It holds the president to account for his zigzags from Kabul to Jerusalem….The Dispensable Nation is a brave book. Its core message is: Diplomacy is tough and carries a price, but the price is higher when it is abandoned.”
—Roger Cohen, New York Times

The Dispensable Nation is an indispensable book. Taking us into the secretive world of high-level American foreign policy, Vali Nasr shares astounding, previously unrevealed details about the Obama administration's dealings with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. But Nasr doesn't just spill secrets—he also charts a path forward, advancing an insightful prescription for how the United States can regain its lost influence. This provocative story is a must-read for anyone who cares about America's role in the world.”
—Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Little America and Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

“An original, powerful, and provocative critique of American foreign policy under President Obama.”
George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq

"Vali Nasr was in the room during key moments of the Obama administration's first two years as it faced some of its most important foreign policy challenges. His portrayal of strategic confusion inside Obama's White House is devastating and persuasive. Nasr writes with the dispassion of one of the United States' leading experts on the Middle East and South Asia and with the insider knowledge he gained as a senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke, the legendary diplomat. Nasr asserts that the Obama White House didn't really believe in diplomacy in its dealings with the Afghans and Pakistanis and he makes his case with great cogency and clarity in this indispensable book."
—Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad

"Vali Nasr is the George Kennan of U.S. policy in the Middle East. A renowned scholar but also a practitioner and insider who served two years in the Obama administration, Nasr delivers a sharp, sober, fast-paced and absolutely riveting critique of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan."
—Robert Kagan, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and author of The World America Made

“The Dispensable Nation
is an important wake-up call by a thoughtful, astute and deeply knowledgeable scholar and policymaker. Anyone interested in the Middle East, China, or the future of American power should read it immediately and think hard about its message.”
—Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, 2009-2011

“An impressive tour d’horizon which includes a personally frank eulogy to Richard Holbrooke’s failed efforts to shape U.S. policy in Afghanistan, revealing insights into White House vs. State Department collisions over U.S. strategy, and a sweeping review of the escalating geopolitical challenges the U.S. needs to address more intelligently in the Middle East, the Far East, and especially Iran. Gutsy, intriguing, and challenging.” 
—Zbigniew Brzezinski

“Vali Nasr is without peer in explaining how and why political order is crumbling across the Middle East, and how and why China may reap the spoils. Along the way, he lays out in never-before-told, granular detail why President Obama's first term was such a disappointment regarding foreign policy.”
Robert D. Kaplan, chief geopolitical analyst, Stratfor, and author of The Revenge of Geography

"[A] vivid firsthand account of White House policymaking...Nasr's shrewd, very readable analyses of byzantine Middle Eastern geo-politics are superb."
—Publishers Weekly

"An informed, smoothly argued brief that will surely rattle windows at the White House."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

VALI NASR is Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the bestselling author of The Shia Revival and Forces of Fortune. From 2009 to 2011, he served as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. He is a columnist for Bloomberg View and lives in Washington, D.C.

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Walter Schärlig am 25. August 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Die Analyse ist in vielen Teilen wahrscheinlich zutreffend und aufschlussreich. Die vielsagende Kritik an Obama ändert nichts an der immer wieder durchscheinenden imperialistischen Denkweise der Amerikaner.
Die Schlussfolgerungen von Vali Nasr sind aber offensichtlich parteiisch. Er geht davon aus, dass die USA den Staat Israel weiterhin vorbehaltlos unterstützen werden. Kein Wunder, denn Nasr arbeitet für die Brookings Institutions, wo der AIPAC-Mann Martin Indyk das Sagen hat.
Das Buch ist interessant für jene Leser, die seit Jahren das Geschehen im Nahen Osten und das Verhalten der Achse USA/Israel in den führenden Medien von Israel, England und den USA verfolgen.
Kommentar War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich? Ja Nein Feedback senden...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Interessanter Einblick in das Arbeitsverhältnis zwischen White House und State Department.
Excellente Analysis des Versagens in Afganistan und Pakistan. Leider sind zu Ende einige
Klischees geschrieben, die aus US Sicht verständlich sind, doch für nicht- Amerikaner nicht
immer Zustimmung finden.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 Rezensionen
54 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent Background - 16. April 2013
Von Loyd E. Eskildson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Author Nasr begins by recounting meetings he and Richard Holbrooke held with various mid-East leaders - the purpose was to sell Obama's 'doubling down' strategy in Afghanistan before it was announced. All were skeptical at best, and only too quick to reference the mess we'd just made in Iraq. They also predicted the envisioned built-up Afghanistan army would degenerate into a a number of separate militias that would raid the countryside for support after the U.S. and its money pulled out - this had occurred previously with an earlier Russian-backed Afghanistan army after the Russians pulled out. Pakistan had an additional concern - that these new Afghan army segments would create problems for it in the adjoining territory. The overall counsel offered by these leaders - we instead negotiate with the Taliban and leave. Pakistan has also viewed the Afghanistan Taliban as a force that could help keep India out of Afghanistan; another Pakistani concern involved an ongoing disagreement with Afghanistan over their mutual border - Pakistan wanted acceptance of the Durand line. Still another concern - there were more Pastuns in Pakistan (15% of population) than in Afghanistan (40%), the the Pakistani worried over a separate Pashtun nation being created in the manner that Bangladesh had been born.

Later, in late 2011, another series of high-level U.S. diplomatic visits occurred - this time to China where we attempted to enlist China's help stabilizing both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was known that the Chinese were worried about Afghanistan and Pakistan having an influence on political developments in western China, and that China had some significant mining interests in Afghanistan. China, however, declined, pointing out that we'd made the mess and now had to deal with it - they'd take care of their own interests in their own manner. They were also upset with U.S. involvement in its South China Sea disputes. Iran presented another opportunity for potential positive influence, as it had before - the Iranians disliked the Taliban's heavy-Sunni Pastun leadership and the terror it brought to Shiites; White House personnel, objected to negotiating with Iran, believing this would be seen as undercutting talks on the nuclear issue.

The U.S. estimated that in 2009 the Afghanistan Taliban numbered no more than 35,000, with about 20,000 simply involved for a few dollars/day income. At the same time, there were believed to be only a few hundred al-Qaeda. Meanwhile, Karzai and his government were proving to be corrupt, unreliable, and worse than useless - a major factor for Taliban success because they allowed local figures and police to shake down the populace, while also failing to develop the moribund economy or provide good infrastructure. Karzi was seen as no more than a glorified 'Mayor of Kabul.'

Obama's sending 47,000 more troops didn't help - it simply created a 'whack-a-mole' scenario. Obama's subsequent 2012 announcement that we were leaving then destroyed any leverage we might have had with the Taliban and Pakistan.

Clinton and Holbrooke had both also supported negotiating with the Taliban as a way out, but both were handicapped by resistance from the military, White House advisors protecting their turf (and sometimes also suspicious of Clinton and/or Holbrooke). On the other hand, Pakistan had tried reconciliation with its Taliban, finding them less than trustworthy, while those with personal roots in Afghanistan had similar reservations about the Taliban there. Holbrooke, however, simply believed that we were not going to win the war anyway, and had to leave - sooner or later.

Ten years post 9/11 the U.S. had given $20 billion in aid to Pakistan, receiving intelligence cooperation and Pakistan's attacks on Taliban within Pakistan. (Some of the 'cooperation' involved ISI leaking information to the Taliban.) Nevertheless, 2011 was a disaster - CIA undercover agent Raymond Davis' shooting two men he thought were going to rob him (or worse), drone attacks killing civilians, our secret raid on bin Laden, and American forces with helicopters killing 24 Pakistani border guards while chasing Taliban. The U.S. refused to apologize for over six months (Obama didn't want to give the Republicans more ammunition about his 'apologizing for America'), Pakistan stopped U.S. supplies from traversing its land (costing us an extra $100 million/month); finally Clinton prevailed and we apologized.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has refused to share management of its drone program, sell drones to Pakistan, or let Pakistan hit the targets with their F-16s - another source of irritation to that nation. We now have less influence in Pakistan, per Nasr.

In the last decade, U.S. - Iran relations have gone from cooperation in Afghanistan to today's incessant talk of incipient war. In 2003 Iran offered comprehensive negotiations on all outstanding issues between the two nations - Hezbollah, signing on to Saudi Arabia's 2002 plan for comprehensive peace with Israel, cooperation in fighting al-Qaeda and building a new government in Iraq, and nuclear non-proliferation. The Bush administration never responded, and even admonished the Swiss for relaying it. Washington expected regime change in Iraq would undo clerical rule in Iran. Iranian leaders now believe the U.S. wants not just an end to its nuclear program, but an end to their regime, and to keep Iran backward and subservient. Khomeini sees that by Iran acting more Arab than the Arabs (leading the way against Israel) they would convince Arab nations of the value of Iranian leadership and reduce Sunni sectarianism. It has lost momentum as an outgrowth of the Syrian rebellion, being seen by other Arabs as trying to foist a minority Alawite regime on Syria's mostly Sunni populace. Another Iranian concern - it faces neighbors spending far more on their militaries, and with more up-to-date equipment.

History lessons about nuclear weapons: It was after the failed Bay of Pigs attempt at regime change that Castro invited Russia to station nuclear missiles in Cuba. The only obvious difference between Saddam and North Korea is that the latter had nuclear weapons - not totally true, as N.K.'s traditional weapons are so close to Seoul it could cause great havoc with just their use. Pakistan's nuclear weapons have given the West an enormous motivation to try and stabilize it and endear the West to it that billions of dollars have been poured into it. The U.S. once saw India as a pariah because of its acquiring nuclear arms, now all is forgiven and we signed a civilian nuclear deal with it.

The U.S. have given much away to get Russian and Chinese support vs. Iran by pushing the Saudis to give China long-term, concessionary contracts, while ceasing to talk of Russian human rights violations (until 2012 when Russians themselves protested Putin's election), dropped thoughts of pushing NATO further east, dropped the planned missile-defense shield for Europe, betrayed Georgia, largely abandoned support for alternative gas supply pipelines provided into Europe from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (strengthens Russia's hand vs. Europe), and lifted sanctions against arms sales by manufacturers associated with the Russian military. All this for a nation whose economy is little bigger than that of Massachusetts. We're containing Iran's threat by subsidizing Russia and China's goals. Meanwhile, Egypt's Morsi has asked the Chinese whether they are willing to invest in Egypt the way they have in Kenya or Uganda - 'we're no longer the venture capitalist of democracy.' Per Nasr, he has written off the West as a source of investment and financial assistance, and is looking to cultivate ties with China.

Israel receives broad domestic support from evangelical Christians, a community far larger than the American Jewish one. We do not have vital strategic interests in the Jordan Valley, but the need to behave as if so puts us in the middle of the Arab-Israeli dispute. At this point, anything acceptable to Iran is unacceptable to Israel, and vice-versa. As for sanctions on Iran, they hurt the Iranian public and are seen by them as opposing a popular goal - its nuclear program.

Almost half of Saudi Arabia's GDP (45%) goes to support the royal family and its 60,000 princes. To keep the Arab Spring out (and pay for massive defense outlays), the monarchy promised $60 billion in subsidies to its population, and this requires oil to sell for at least $80/barrel, $325 by 2030.

Overall, Nasr sees the Obama White House handling of foreign policy as hindered by infighting (eg. John Podesta, Clinton's chief of staff was not an acceptable choice to replace Holbrooke because he was considered too high-profile and potentially difficult to manage), as well as overly cautious and at times politicized out of concern about possible reaction from Republicans. Nasr is also concerned that while the U.S. is pivoting from the Middle East towards the Far East (moving naval resources, reducing oil imports), China is pivoting towards and into the Middle East - building roads, railroads, and pipelines that avoid U.S. ability to choke oil and oil products passing through the Straights of Malacca.

Since 2006, China has been exporting more to the Middle East than the U.S., the same for imports since 2009. China also exports $23 billion/year to Turkey, with only $2 billion going the other way. China is making up the deficit with FDI. Turkey sees little economic potential in Europe and the Middle East, and is also pursuing South Korea and Singapore trade.

And the narrative continues - all excellent, credible background.
21 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Indispensable Book 3. Juni 2013
Von Christpher Hays - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
A multi-layered assessment of Obama's Middle East foreign policy from a former State Department insider. Vali Nasr portrays Obama as the prototypical political animal: excelling at speeches and promises, but always with his finger on the pulse of public opinion and using that as a compass to guide his actual policy. Obama appears to have relied mostly on a cabal of white house insiders, holdovers from his political campaign, to direct his foreign policy instead of relying on the sage advice of his State Department specialists, particularly the likes of Richard Holbrooke, whom most of Obama's advisers seemed to have regarded as something of a pariah. (Holbrooke died in 2010). Too bad, since Holbrooke actually seemed to have his finger on the pulse of the Middle East itself, although he struggled to have his voice heard by the President.

Nasr leads us on a tour of the major Middle Eastern players; Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and even China, and then lays out the stakes and the inter-relationships in a nuanced and enlightening display of insight, dire warnings and credible predictions for possible outcomes. China, by the way, enters into the picture by way of our own exit. Obama's policy seems to essentially amount to disengagement from the Middle East, leaving an opening as wide as the Persian Gulf for China to move into and it has wasted no time in doing so.

Not everyone will dissagree with Obama's desire to pack up and leave the Middle East to its own fate. For over ten years now we have spilled blood and treasure without any obvious benefit to our own interests there. Nasr argues that now is not the time to disengage, but instead we should double down and try our hand at actual diplomacy and economic support instead of an over-relaince on drone warfare, something which is more likely to continue to generate hostility towards us than provide us with any real lasting measure of safety. Likewise, he argues that it's short sighted to think that we no longer have any stake in a stable Middle East, simply because we are becoming less dependent on their oil. Our allies are still dependent on their oil and that will eventually come back to bite us if we ignore the longer term consequences.

Nasr makes a lot of sense and I find myself wanting to agree with him but not quite finding myself able to do so. It's not that I find his analysis has any major flaws, indeed, it makes a lot of sense. Where I hesitate is with his faith that diplomacy would work where all other efforts have so far failed. Likewise, economic help might actually make a big difference if we actually HAD any money left to help anyone else out with, at least to the degree that would be required in the case of the Middle East. It's just not going to happen. He does argue, not without some legitimate concern, that the outcome of Obama's disengagement policy will likely leave the Middle East with multiple failed states or hostile Islamist States throughout the region, neither of which are in our long term interests. It's hard to generate much of a counter argument to that, but its also not really obvious that continuing to stick our noses in other peoples business is really the answer either. Some call it leadership (the author does); I just disagree.

In the end, Nasr's book is a gem for its breadth and insight and you don't have to buy into everything he says to be educated by this excellent book.
41 von 49 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Middle East Policy; To Be, or Not To Be, Perhaps 9. Mai 2013
Von Dr.Charles Dusenbury - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Wow. Before reading this well written book, I had always assumed that the old saying, "Great minds and fools think alike," was about two separate groups of individuals; now I'm not so sure.

Mr. Nasr is very lucid and states in very clear terms the range of challenges that the Middle East presents to any American presidential administration. He gives the reader an inside-baseball look at the process and pain of deciding on what American policy should be and how it is to be implemented, vis-a-vis the Middle East. Working as the senior advisor to Mr. Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, Vali Nasr was party to the process of decision making/not making that is currently manifest in the region.

This reviewer initially highlighted many passages which validated a "Well, there you go again" view of a presidency less attuned to leading the community of nations than being a community organizer. As an example, "In the cocoon of our public debate Obama gets high marks on foreign policy. That is because his policies' principal aim is not to make strategic decisions but to satisfy public opinion...he has done more of the things that people want and fewer of the things we have to do that may be unpopular." and, "To our allies, however, our constant tactical maneuvers don't add up to a coherent strategy or a vision of global leadership." Ouch! Painful on several fronts.

Painful because this and many passages point to a seemingly rudderless ship of state on a turbulent global sea; painful because it would be more comforting to know that the good of the nation and its leadership in the world would be placed above local electoral politics; and painful because, well, are there actually any good policies that might insure a sense of peace and security in a global environment of stateless entities with an increasing lethality?

The author presents a basket load of problems and possible approaches for the Middle East, particularly Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, and ties it up with a global bow of China as our main challenge for the future. This reviewer was left with feeling that it's no picnic to be charged with the responsibility for dealing with the problems of this nation or the world. I'm sure glad this basket was not left on my door step.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Well researched and informative. An education 19. Mai 2013
Von Z. Ahari - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I am a prolific reader with a great appetite for political books and articles. My main areas of interest are the two world wars and the regional political and nation states that these events created especially the Middle East. In order to read as much as I can and cut the reading time, I have developed a system of speed reading to absorb just the gist of the matter discussed.

Reading Vali Nasr's book the Dispensable Nation I applied the same technique and I must admit I was under the impression that I got from one or two of the amateur Amazon reviewers. The first few pages proved to create an impression that perhaps this was the narrative of a discouraged and frustrated academician turned politician. The book started in a manner similar to Paul O'Neil's "Price of Loyalty" and Thomas Ricks"Fiasco" by describing the details of diversion of opinion between the White House and the State Department regarding the Middle East. This impression further was strengthened by coming across Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Richard Holbrook's names mentioned repeatedly in an adulatory fashion in the first chapter on Afghanistan. However further along the style and contents of the book changed so dramatically that I felt forced to start from the beginning and read the book in a conventional and concentrated manner. Now that I have just finished the book I admit that I have enjoyed reading it and have learnt a great deal from it.

I found the book informative and well documented supported by an extensive bibliography for further reading. The description of the history, the the present and the forecasts for the future of various places under consideration were sound, realistic and on occasions alarming. The description of the present political status of West Asia specifically the Middle East is accurate and described with impartially partial alacrity that is refreshing. Mr. Nasr describes clearly the role that the US has played in creating the entangled web in the Middle East and suggests credible solutions. The most important part is the explanation of China's present global role, plans and future ambitions. Mr. Nasr's explanation of China's intentions to get involved in the Middle East was proved right by declaration issued by China regarding the country's position on Israel-Palestine conflict after the publication of the book.
This is a book written probably as swan song addressed to the Obama administration to remind it of the advices given but not heeded. The book also plays another important role; to educate the mostly uninformed and often confused general American public about an area that has played and is still playing a crucial role for the future of their country and the world.
Mr. Nasr lays bare the alternatives that lie ahead for America and the people of the Middle East; American form of Jeffersonian Democracy, Chinese style centrally orchestrated way of governance or the alternative suggested by Javaher Laall Nehru of India, Mohammad Mosaddegh of Iran and Joseph Tito of former Yugoslavia-- The Third Way
In my view addition of of a chapter describing the origins of American Entry in the Middle Eastern political scene starting with the meeting between FDR and ibn Saud the king of Saudi Arabia immediately following the Yalta Conference would make the book complete. FDR correctly foresaw the future, the coming energy demands and the treasure trove that lay under the sands of the area. He laid the grounds for the future of the US foreign policy in the Middle East and Persian Gulf-- until then completely dominated by Britain-- a red thread that has continued irrespective of political choice of the American people.

I enjoyed reading this book. I believe it should be an essential reading for the people involved in making decisions in the American foreign policy arena involved in matters related to West Asia and the people of the United States to find out where all the blood is shed and the fortunes that are squandered. I also hope that in some form or another it is translated and offered in the West Asian countries to make them aware of their choices and what lies ahead.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Behind the headlines on American Foreign Policy 10. August 2013
Von Carol Crystle - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a must-read book for all citizens who want to understand the foreign policy issues facing our country relative to China,Iran and the Middle East. In the mainstream media we only hear the familiar talking points about fighting terrorism in the Islamic world and preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The author of this book is a scholar at a major American university and worked for two years in the Obama state department. Most eye-opening to me was the growing importance of gas and oil pipelines going from Russia and Central Asia to outlets in the Caspian Sea or Indian Ocean or Western Europe and how that will affect the geopolitical situation. We learn how the U.S., in an attempt to get Chinese support in isolating Iran, has actually strengthened the economic ties between those two countries and facilitated the extension of China's reach into Iran and Turkey. We learn about the follies of our policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and how, unaccountably, the Obama adminstration ignored the advice of our regiional allies in the Middle East in setting its "Afpak" strategy. Indeed one of the surprising things a reader learns from this book is Obama's lack of strategic vision in this area of the world; indeed he seems not to really care very much about it. In its disappointing picture of Obama this book is a foreign policy analog to Ron Suskind"s book (The Education of a President) on Obama's management of the financial crisis and health care bill early in his administration. There is a lack of vision and administrative follow-through that is disappointing to those progressives who expected so much of him.
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