Trapped inside owing to the heat, for the past few days I have been engaged with my new Kindle, reading several books simultaneously (so many books so little time.)
At the top of my list has been Vali Nasr’s The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat.
Sidekick of Richard Holbrook and Hillary supporter, Nasr is highly critical of US foreign policy under both Mr. Obama and George Bush.
Basically, Mr Nasr suggests the US could have done more to improve relations with various countries in the Middle East, for example, engaging Iran in a positive way and negotiating with the Taliban before we announced we were leaving. In fact, the US probably should have stayed out of Afghanistan to begin with.
I don’t know if Mr. Nasr is correct. but his reasoning is based on a thorough knowledge of the Middle East and the internal conflicts between and among tribal based people. Another of his books is The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future.
Mr. Nasr writes a compelling narrative, and I have a long time interest in the Middle East, so I will probably eventually read his other book.
Nasr supported Hillary during the 2008 primary, and agreed to join the current administration after Obama was elected. Nasr has much to say about how Hillary was shunted aside by the White House, even after Mr. Obama made her his Secretary of State. (Probably, because she disagreed with some of his decisions, such as relying more on the military and CIA than State Department diplomacy to formulate foreign policy.)
I am probably a warped person, but I take a great interest in politics and political infighting. My bias is toward Hillary, whom, I believe to have been cheated of her chance to win the White House. Will she run in 2016? Don’t rule anything out.
I have appointments with my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and Thursday for knee and hip pain (right side). I think the pain I am experiencing is from the Sciatic nerve, but thought I would begin the process of eliminating other possibilities. I saw the back guy a few months ago, (he pronounced both scoliosis and spinal stenosis) and I am afraid the pain probably begins in my back with a corroded disk. Unfortunately, I have to see a different doctor for each body part, although all are in the same orthopedic group.
Do you ever get the feeling your body is a house of cards and if one card slips the whole thing is in danger of collapsing, or am I being melodramatic?
Vali Nasr (Photo credit: New America Foundation; click to enlarge)