Vali Nasr seems to be in favor of the foreign policy establishment and he is of the view that there is a kind of “imbalance” between the military and the US diplomacy; this imbalance is in favor of the military of course. He says that Obama’s record at home is high on the diplomacy. Nevertheless, Obama did not achieve anything abroad. Not only did Obama followed in the military footsteps of his predecessor Bush, but also aggravated the aggressive stance of the America towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, and especially Iran — back to square one regarding nuclear negotiations and getting tough with respect to the economic sanctions.
Even in the Middle East, the Obama administration failed to move the peace process an inch leaving both Israel and the Palestinians in amass. Nasr also opines that Obama’s envoys to the Middle East had to listen to lectures from the Saudi officials regarding the Iranian threat, yet they could not lift a finger or say a word — is it diplomatic ineffectiveness or the habit of sincere listening?
Moreover, Nasr recalls the so-called Arab Spring and the swinging attitude of the US Administration during Obama’s first term in office. He is amazed by his militaristic action in Libya, yet he is disappointed at his inaction in Syria. Although Nasr is confused by Obama’s slight support for change in both Yemen and Egypt mentioning that the administration altered its tone overnight from supporting the deposed Mubarak to demanding that the dictator should step down — to the surprise of the US envoy while he was on the plane to Germany.
Vali Nasr sees that America will always be preoccupied with the Middle East, not because of the huge oil and gas reserves in Saudi and Qatar, but because of its strategic importance in containing China and in not permitting her to mess with America’s backyard or territory of influence. Nasr does not hide it when he says that the Chinese dragon is rising but it will take more time; and fortunately, for America and for the world, the next century will not be Chinese. Nasr also assures the world that America and its economy are essential for world stability. He thinks that America is the locomotive of the world economy as well as politics and he sees no other country that amounts to the challenge and burden of being the supreme state of the world. No country will dare to compete with America; not China, Japan, or even Russia. However, he advises implementation of public diplomacy and foreign policy as PR to deal with world problems; otherwise, America had to hand over its hegemony and domination to its nearest “frenemies” like China.
Nasr’s book also abounds in historical references to the British colonial era and reiteration that America inherited its legacy in the Middle East so that he who could understand may draw a lesson from the past and may not fall in the trap of repeating history. He then focuses on the Sunni-Shiite animosity and urges America to strike a balance in the region to benefit from the region’s stability and to avoid its “headaches.”