Engaging Iran: The Rise of a Middle East Powerhouse and America's Strategic Choice

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 - Political Science - 180 pages

Iran is poised to re-emerge as the powerhouse of the Middle East in the 21st century. Already taking on massive export and energy diversification projects and working to acquire a nuclear weapons arsenal, Iran is likely to attain the stature of regional power in the coming years, thanks in no small measure to the vacuum created by the chaos in Iraq, which for many years served as a counterweight to Iran in the region. Gonzalez illuminates the path toward a new approach to engagement with Iran. Only then can the United States reap the benefits of a new Middle East.

But is a nuclear-armed Iran a direct strategic threat to the United States? While post-revolutionary politics have harnessed anti-Americanism as a matter of policy, Gonzalez argues that this is only a sign of a larger enterprise of democratization; a trajectory of independence, as the author calls it. This trajectory has led Iran to release itself from the shackles of foreign power intervention and has put it closer to home-grown democracy than any other nation in the Muslim Middle East. This promise of democracy, set in the wider scope of Iranian Shi'i jurisprudence and practice, is set to elevate the largest segment of Iranian society--its educated and pro-American youth--to the forefront of Iranian politics.

The Middle East is in crisis, and within every crisis lies opportunity. America must not repeat the myopic mistakes of the past. A far-sighted and grand-strategic approach to engagement with Iran promises to open doors to regional stability and political development. Only then can America, as the global superpower, reap the benefits of a new Middle East, with the Islamic Republic of Iran at the helm.


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User Review  - superant - LibraryThing

I found this book to be very helpful in laying out the myths of perception we in the west have about Iran. This book gives a concise grounding in the history of Iran, as a pawn in great power ... Read full review



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About the author (2007)

Nathan Gonzalez is founder of NationandState.org, an open-source foreign policy think tank. He has published several academic papers on U.S.-Iranian relations and is a regular contributor to various blogs and opinion publications. In 2002, he received a prize from the University of California, Los Angeles for his research on Iraq, in which he predicted that a U.S. invasion would bring about massive sectarian strife, pervasive anti-Americanism in Iraq, and a stronger Iran. Gonzalez holds a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA and a master of international affairs from Columbia University.

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