A groundbreaking look at America’s role in the Middle East—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Rope and a Prayer
Distilling eleven years of expert reporting for the New York Times, Reuters, and the Atlantic, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde presents an incisive look at the calamitous privatization of the war on terror. Beyond War is a clarion call for change in American policies and attitudes toward a rapidly changing Middle East. Rohde argues that using lethal force is necessary at times, but economic growth and Muslim moderates —not American soldiers—will eradicate militancy in the long term. Vast mistakes have been made, but it is not too late. By scaling back our ambitions, focusing on economics and working with Muslim moderates, we will achieve more.
A veteran journalist, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and onetime Taliban captive, Rohde is no stranger to the volatile regions of Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. He draws upon his experiences (and those of his colleagues) to compile a series of prescriptions and policy alternatives for improving American relations with Muslim countries and their restive populations, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring. Foremost among his recommendations are increased trade and investment, as well as "local involvement, realistic goals, and long-term commitments." Rohde (A Rope and a Prayer, coauthor) champions the private sector as savior and envisions the U.S. State Department as a facilitator of entrepreneurship and education opportunities abroad. He also insists that America must rehabilitate its own "decayed and dysfunctional civilian agencies" (e.g., USAID), and cease to rely on awarding "megacontracts" to third parties. These recalibrations would ostensibly bolster those who "embrace democracy, modernity, and globalism" while helping to moderate Islamists, whom Rohde views as distinguishable from Salafists. Still, while advocating for more engagement, Rohde is sufficiently pragmatic to acknowledge that targeting terrorists and fostering economic growth must go hand in hand. Readers interested in American foreign policy and sustainable development will appreciate the book's substance and approach.