Engaging the Muslim World

I joined the dialogue to discuss Juan Cole’s new book Engaging the Muslim World

on TPMCafe Book Club

I highly recommend the book!

Engaging the Muslim World: What are we waiting for?

I, for one, welcome Cole’s book. It talks about engaging people and understanding them for who they are not who we believe them to be. There are plenty of people that feel Americans are not the principled people we think ourselves to be mostly because our government is implementing policy in parts of the world where they don’t care to do their homework therefore the implications for the people are highly destabilizing. See Afghanistan.

At the beginning of his term, President Obama declared that he was ready to engage the world. He should be looking to people like Cole to help him understand the nuances and implications of rhetoric, postures and policies his Administration is proposing to implement. Denigrating anyone is usually counterproductive and this type of approach, which the Administration seems to be vacillating with toward Iran, will only create more apprehension on their part causing what Cole calls “American Anxiety.”

Read the full article here TPMCafe Book Club

Engaging or Gauging Intervention

Whether it is the Israeli, sorry the Israel, Lobby, the Cheney Gang or Obama’s new “smart power” team, all of the above are interventionists no matter how you slice it. All too are playing a great game that is hurting a whole lot of people (including themselves) that they are sadly miscalculating.

Cole talks about engagement and many of the comments I have seen do not lose sight of the fact that engagement can definitely take the form of soft or hard power. Historically, with our love and propensity for weapons, the US, along with the prompting of others (Cheney and the lobby), likes the hard stuff.

Read the full article here TPMCafe Book Club

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