Book Review: The Twilight War
Book Review: The Twilight War
Penguin Press 2012
If you are a political, history or military geek then this is a work certainly for you, an exacting, clear, concise and fully detailed geopolitical and military history of Iran and the United States since 1979. If one is not then the work should certainly be left alone, it’s not beach reading in the least, but certainly a very thorough and worthy work for those interested in various scholarly aspects of the middle east and relations with Iran.
Even though serious military acts all through the decades—not to mention the Iranian hostage crisis of the Carter presidency and the current uproar of Iranian nuclear capability—have taken place with Iran the country, story and potential remains always almost hidden, a story in the twilight of American consciousness. So much could go wrong in such drastically violent ways, yet news of Iran is just another ho-hum item of international news for most Americans. Afghanistan and Iraq have naturally taken most of the attention (of what there is) in recent years, the ever-ongoing story of punishing and sanctioning Iran for nuclear capability few care about other than Washington DC conservatives.
Crist is a retired career military officer of very impressive credentials and equally good academic achievements. His prose is modern and readable, straight out of American grad school, with an enormous effort to stay objective in the face of American politics. When occasion calls for he’s equally acerbic and critical of both Democratic and Republican administrations and politicians.
Given the tone of the work and the good human consciousness of the author it’s obvious Crist wishes all the distrust and military fencing would end. Iran is far too important for geopolitical reasons along not to have a good, stable relationship with, let alone human and energy aspects, yet foolishly for small human reasons and easily surmountable petty history progress does not occur.
Of course it has now become holy Republican writ to support Israel for the fanatic end-of-days quacks in the Republican base, which means getting all American badass on Iran. It’s an extremely unfortunate development Crist has little patience with, American interests would be far better served in calm, rational moves that exclude violence and vitriol.
For now sanctions will harm little people Iranians very much while doing nothing to make progress politically. Go tough America.
In Crist’s world there will always be a need for good relations for Iran, there will always be a middle east full of oil and a world willing to fight for it. It doesn’t seem an option to have minimal relations with simply another country on the planet not in some vastly important region. If Iran were in South America American really wouldn’t care what we do with them, yet the middle east places so much more importance on everything. We could live in a world where we don’t burn oil at all, where military intervention is the extremely rare event it should be.
Just the old hippie in me talking, perhaps the real serious naiveté is thinking the oil companies would give up the $27 trillion they have in reserves, people of the Earth will burn oil until the place is fried to a crisp, their political power will make sure of that. It will also continue to make Iran a worth story, always seemingly in the twilight, yet worthy of study and potentially so instantly very important.