The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Date: April 2013
Duration: 11 hours 15 minutes
Former State Department advisor for Afghanistan and Pakistan and bestselling author Vali Nasr delivers a sharp indictment of America's flawed foreign policy and outlines a new relationship with the Muslim world and with new players in the changing Middle East.
In this essential new book, Vali Nasr argues that the Obama administration had a chance to improve its relations with the Middle East, but instead chose to pursue its predecessor's questionable strategies there. Nasr takes readers behind the scenes at the State Department and reveals how the new government's fear of political backlash and the specter of terrorism crippled the efforts of diplomatic giants, like Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton, to boost America's foundering credibility with world leaders. Meanwhile, the true economic threats, China and Russia, were quietly expanding their influence in the region. And a second Arab Spring is brewing-not a hopeful clamor for democracy but rage at the United States for its foreign policy of drones and assassinations. Drawing on his in-depth knowledge of the Middle East and firsthand experience in diplomacy, Nasr offers a powerful reassessment of American foreign policy that directs the country away from its failing relationships in the Middle East (such as with Saudi Arabia) toward more productive, and less costly, partnerships with other foreign allies (such as Turkey). Forcefully persuasive, Vali Nasr's book is a game changer for America as it charts a course in the Muslim world, Asia, and beyond.
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