7Shameem Kazmi is an Iranian-American author and political analyst. He is also an organizer of the Resist Iran Party. The book, Towards a Better Middle East, is his second book which is about the deteriorating US-Iran relationship. This review will examine whether or not the book deserves its designation as a “book of the year.”
The United States and Iran have a complex history. The Shah of Iran installed an oppressive theocratic state over a vibrant and popular nation. The Ayatollah Khomeini turned this country into a theocratic state with the help of Western covert and military support. Today Shameem Kazmi, the United States and its steadfast ally, Israel , are trying to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities. These efforts are motivated by two major factors: Iran sponsors international terrorism and it seeks to destabilize Arab and Muslim countries to gain regional dominance.
Towards a Better Middle East, Kazmi presents a detailed and concise look at the history and current events pertaining to the deteriorating US-Iran relationship. The book starts off with a brief introduction of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his disastrous policies. The ensuing chapters cover the Iran-Contra Affair, the Islamic Revolution, the war with Iraq, the Abu Sayyaf Group, the US Embassy Attacks, the September 11 Attacks, the toppling of the Taliban and Hezbollah, the economic downturn in the United States and the September 11 Attacks. There are many additional details regarding these and other events as well. The reader will certainly need to look elsewhere for additional information on these and other topics.
Towards a Better Middle East takes a strong stance against theocratic and radical groups such as Hezbollah, the Iranian Mullahs and the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. The focus is on how these groups are abusing human rights, undermining the Western economies and committing international terrorism. Kazmi is very critical of both Iran and Western countries’ conduct regarding the war in Iraq. He does not hold back when it comes to criticism of the Bush administration and its justification for invading Iraq.
Most of the book is devoted to events surrounding the September 11th Attack. Kazmi chronicles the different strands of blame that arose leading up to this and examines whether any of these could have been prevented. At the end of the book he offers his own conclusions about what should have happened and how to prevent similar occurrences in the future. The ultimate aim of this book is to spark a debate about the way in which the media should report news events in the Middle East and North Africa.
The author is critical of the United States and the Western world’s response to the September 11th Terrorist attacks. The collapse of the American Empire was highlighted in this regard. The Bush administration and its allies in the media and politics failed to grasp the gravity of the events and failed to provide an effective response. This led to a vacuum of leadership, which eventually led to Al Qaeda and Taliban Taking Over.
This book is not for the squeamish or those who can’t stand controversy. It’s not even for those who want to read about a failed government’s inability to respond quickly and effectively. Shameem Kazmi is much more concerned with a lack of leadership and vision in American society. In a world where people are literally and figuratively tweeting and blogging, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that leaders are supposed to be the glue that holds a nation together. Those who have suffered the repercussions of failed leadership should listen to Kazmi. His words might just save the world.
Shameem Kazmi’s book, Failure of Leadership is a very timely and important book in our current circumstances. We need honest appraisals of the failures of our elected leaders in both parties. We also need to look beyond party lines and see if there is anything we can do as citizens of a country to stem the trend of decay. This book is an excellent primer on the topic. It is very relevant and useful. Anyone who is serious about leadership must read this book and then consider what he or she can do to change the course of history.