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The Politically Incorrect Guide to the…

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (Politically Incorrect…

by Martin Sieff

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Slly me, I didn't realize Politically Incorrect meant politically polarizing... ( )
  ScoutJ | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is a an informative book but Sieff’s political loyalties stop it short of greatness. He adeptly destroys many of the myths about the middle east. The history alone is worth the cover price.

His main contentions are well supported:
· Liberal Democracy is not going to wok in the near future in most nations in the region
· That Saudi Arabia is a great Ally of the USA not an enemy
· That peace between Israel and the Palestinians is not going to cure the problems of the region.
· The USA may have to pick able monarchs and dictators as allies even though they would prefer otherwise. He is not scared to point out that things were better for the West when Saddam and the Shah were in power

His realism should be applauded, but Seiff can’t hide his republican loyalties and, I fear, it will make many ignore the valid points of the book. At times he digresses into bitter little tirades about the popular media and their unfair treatment of republicans. This issue and this book deserve better. You can feel the hate with each time he mentions Bill Clinton and he uses insulting personal attacks on those he disagrees with. By the time he explains (convincingly I may add) why Jimmy Carter failed in the Middle East he has called Carter names (idiot is one of his favorites) for 150 pages. He would have served his purpose better to disguise his personal feelings.
Even if the personal emotions were taken out the republican bias is obvious. The best Presidents were Nixon, Reagan and Ford was the best of them all. Carter and Clinton are, of course, the worst. Bush the first is discussed briefly and blandly, and W is deemed a failure, but his failures are curiously explained as following Carter’s example. Carter did (and does) believe in democracy for the region but it is unfair to equate the invasion of Iraq with his efforts.
Seiff also ignores that Reagan’s withdrawal from Lebanon after the terrorist attack on US forces has been cited by Bin Laden as proof Americans are week. He gives Iran Contra a scant paragraph. He also discusses the rise of Bin Laden during the Afgan war with “US support” but does not mention that it was Reagan that sent Bin Laden the weapons. He also incorrectly states Clinton did “nothing” (remember the rocket attacks Rush called “wag the dog”?) about Bin Laden.
His support for the ruling Saudi royalty is pragmatic and sensible, but he ignores the influence Saudi oil money in private hands has played in spreading extreme Islam. Yes the house of Saud, is on our side but many rich people in the Kingdom are not. Though he ignores this fact, he makes it clear there are no better alternatives for allies in the region.
If you are interested in these issues at all, this book is a must. I was able to get over the bitter delivery, and axes the author needed to grind. He lists “Books you’re not supposed to read” and there are great recommendations included. The fact is this book claims to be honest and pull no punches and that is what it does. The fact Martin Seiff did not blindly defend the invasion of Iraq shows he is far more than another conservative blow hard.
(Note: Just read this book before you read what he said about Sarah Palin!) ( )
  yeremenko | Oct 26, 2009 |
Enjoyable, informative guide to Middle Eastern affairs, focussing primarily on the Israel/Palestine situation. ( )
  boleyn | Jan 4, 2009 |
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Examines the Middle East from the decline of the Ottoman Empire to the present, discussing such topics as the history of radical Islam, the conflicts between the Arabs and Israelis, and political movements in Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

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