A U.S. senator and Pulitzer Prizewinner, both experts on Southeast Asia, offer a bold new approach to address radical Islam and fight global terrorThe next front in the war on terror is in Southeast Asia, warn Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Lewis Simons, both leading experts on the region. The U.S. has bankrupted its policies in dealing with the Islamic world. As Fundamentalist Islam gains traction in Southeast Asia, backed by Saudi money, the U.S. must act swiftly to re-establish its credibility there and help defuse global terrorism. Bond and Simons present a bold plan to accomplish this key goal by substituting smart power (civilians in sneakers and sandals) for force (soldiers in combat boots) in Indonesia and the other nations of Southeast Asia, home to the world’s greatest concentration of Muslims.Introduces a critical new “smart power” approach to combat global terrorWritten by two experts on Southeast Asia with extensive contacts in Washington and overseasTackles a crucial challenge to U.S. foreign policy and President Obama’s administrationExamines a wide range of views and people, from Osama bin Laden-trained armed terrorists to radical clerics to western-trained officials who plead for Americans to come to their countries to teach, start small businesses, and improve health careThe Next Front offers exactly the kind of fresh, out-of-the-box thinking the United States needs to rebuild its credibility and transcend its foreign policy failures.
In November of 2002, the Justice and Development Party swept to victory in the Turkish parliamentary elections. Because of the party’s Islamic roots, its electoral triumph has sparked a host of questions both in Turkey and in the West: Does the party harbor a secret Islamist agenda? Will the new government seek to overturn nearly a century of secularization stemming from Kemal Ataturk’s early-twentieth-century reforms?Most fundamentally, is Islam compatible with democracy? In this penetrating work, M. Hakan Yavuz seeks to answer these questions, and to provide a comprehensive analysis of Islamic political identity in Turkey. He begins in the early twentieth century, when Kemal Ataturk led Turkey through a process of rapid secularization and crushed Islamic opposition to his authoritarian rule. .Yavuz argues that, since Ataturk’s death in 1938, however, Turkey has been gradually moving away from his militant secularism and experiencing “a quiet Muslim reformation.” Islamic political identity is not homogeneous, says Yavuz, but can be modern and progressive as well as conservative and potentially authoritarian. While the West has traditionally seen Kemalism as an engine for reform against “reactionary” political Islam, in fact the Kemalist establishment has traditionally used the “Islamic threat” as an excuse to avoid democratization and thus hold on to power. Yavuz offers an account of the “soft coup” of 1997, in which the Kemalist military-bureaucratic establishment overthrew the democratically elected coalition government, which was led by the pro-Islamic Refah party.He argues that the soft coup plunged Turkey into a renewed legitimacy crisis which can only be resolved by the liberalization of the political system. The book ends with a discussion of the most recent election and its implications for Turkey and the Muslim world. Yavuz argues that Islamic social movements can be important agents for promoting a democratic and pluralistic society, and that the Turkish example holds long term promise for the rest of the Muslim world. Based on extensive fieldwork and interviews, this work offers a sophisticated new understanding of the role of political Islam in one of the world’s most strategically important countries.
Tamimi introduces the thought of Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the renowned Islamist political activist who heads Tunisia’s most important–albeit banned–Islamist political opposition to the current authoritarian regime of Zine Abidine Ben Ali. Ghannouchi is the leader of a school in modern Islamic political thought that advocates democracy and pluralism.While insisting on the compatibility of democracy with Islam, he believes that because of their secular foundations, contemporary forms of liberal democracy may not suit Muslim societies. Ghannouchi insists, however, that Islam is compatible with Western thought in matters concerning the system of government, human rights, and civil liberties.