Thursday, June 14, 2007


Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

He applied the "page 69 test" to his new book, Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror (Princeton University Press, 2007), and reported the following:
Page 69 of my book Containment: Rebuilding a Strategy against Global Terror deals with the relations between rogue regimes and terrorist groups. The particular focus here is on the likelihood that a regime like Iran might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. I say:

In the quicksand of shifting alliances in the Middle East, today’s ally might well be tomorrow’s enemy and vice-versa. Iran’s changing relations with Iraq, and even with Iraqi Shiites, over the past two decades makes this all too clear. Perhaps the next conflict involving Iran and Iraq will be Sunni-Shiite, but might it just as likely break down along Persian-Arab lines. With Iraq’s integrity as a viable state now in serious doubt, the only thing that can be said with much confidence is how unpredictable these things are. This is scarcely a situation in which governments will likely start handing out WMD to groups they have limited capacity to control and whose interests might shift suddenly, radically, and unpredictably in the relatively near future.

This is part of my larger argument that for the most part the adversaries we face in the post 9/11 world are best dealt with by taking advantage of conflicts of interest among them, and by working with alliances, international institutions, and regional powers to exert diplomatic and economic pressures to contain states that enable terrorists. My book explains what this means in practice for US policy in the middle east, and shows why this is a superior approach to preemptive unilateralism of the Bush Administration or anything currently on offer from the Democrats.
Read more about Containment at the Princeton University Press website, including Chapter One.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue