A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East-from the Cold War to the War on Terror
Patrick Tyler. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008. 640 pp. Illus. Notes. Index. $30.
Reviewed by Peter L. Hahn
In his latest book, seasoned New York Times and Washington Post correspondent Patrick Tyler presents an engaging overview of U.S. presidential policymaking in the Middle East from the days of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower to President George W. Bush. The author argues that the ten presidents he studies performed poorly at the task of managing American interests in the region. "What is most striking about the half century of U.S. effort," he notes, "is the record of vacillation, of shifting policies, broken promises, and misadventures, as if America were its own worst enemy." What might be called a continuity of discontinuity also characterized U.S. diplomacy, as Tyler emphasizes "how much each leader sought to distinguish himself from his predecessor-a very human trait-and in doing so injected a permanent element of instability to Middle East policy."