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Book Review

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Walid Phares Lays out The Choice from his Front Row Seat

September 27th 2020

Walid Phares new

Walid Phares had a front row seat in both 2012 and 2016 – an inside look into how campaigns operated, the strengths of the candidates – and the weaknesses of the Republican campaigns, especially when it came to strategy and thinking and participants at the highest levels. Phares takes this insider’s perspective and transforms it into highly engaging analysis not just of the campaigns and the candidates themselves, but he pinpoints how differing perspectives, priorities, and motives impact presidential policy and practice. From the emergence of Obama on the political scene to his decisions in the Middle East, the reader begins to understand some of what was behind the incomprehensible policies of the Obama White House.

Buy The Choice

The intention here, I believe, is to directly link any future Biden administration to the motivations, practice and implications related to the eight years Biden was Vice President under President Obama. Phares clearly describes the shift in the Democratic Party, particularly in foreign policy and national security, that occurred under the Obama administration. He argues that a Trump administration was able to start turning the ship again, making the true choice in 2020 between returning to the motivations, policies and practices of the Obama years with a Biden presidency on the one hand – and seeing where this brand new path in foreign policy under Trump might take the country (and the world) over the next four years on the other.

Phares also connects the endless obstruction by the Obama bureaucracy holdovers to an attempt at preserving the radical shift in foreign policy that occurred under Obama’s direction – and preventing resolution of the new problems this radical shift created. When all the obstruction against President Trump’s attempts to turn the ship has been laid out, it makes the list of accomplishments under Trump’s administration even more noteworthy.

It is clear, early on in the book, that Phares grasps the inadequacy of traditional politicians’ understanding of what is at risk. There are many rank and file Democrats that fail to recognize the shift in their own party, but in 2008, the Democratic candidate and his political machine changed the entire nature of the way politics is played in the United States. Republicans were quite slow to understand this – and may yet not understand that American politics is forever changed – nor are they able to transition from cold war era thinking about foreign policy to what is completely new in the 21st century.

Phares gets it and lays out the timeline, explains the necessity of a Trump-like candidate AND president. Although not a comprehensive list of what Donald Trump accomplished in his first term, nor is it a comprehensive look at all the issues in foreign policy, the essay by Phares points out several and sundry positions in foreign policy and national security and does a good job of connecting domestic policy and positions to the decisions made by the Trump administration in foreign policy.

Dr. Phares also lays out what is at stake in foreign policy and national security, something the media is failing to do – as is often the case in presidential years – and even more so as the country is focused inward with the coronavirus death toll ticking away, urban unrest redefining American cities, and a Supreme Court vacancy created by the passing of a respected justice.

This is precisely what makes The Choice a must-read for all Americans. We are distracted by party politics, infighting, and domestic division when we should be united as one people to best protect the crucial interests Americans – and not just of the nation’s elite – and focused on the security of the country instead of concerned with personalities and idealistic fantasies of those in power.

By examining what should have been done, what was done, what has been done, and what is left to be done, Phares provides sound arguments based in common sense and reality for a second term of President Donald Trump.

My fear after reading his conclusions is that there are too many holdovers in government (from the Bush and the Obama bureaucracies) and too many politicians who have grown comfortable in their seats of power who do not yet understand the radical shift that has taken place within politics - in both parties – to truly have the best interest of the American people in mind.

Phares provides a passionless analysis that no one else has the courage to put out there. He simply tells the truth and then lets the reader decide. But this only works if people read the book. Any critically thinking American who desires to make a truly informed choice in the best interests of the American people cannot ignore foreign policy and national security. While domestic regulations and laws can be changed at many different levels from city, to county, to state, the implications and consequences behind foreign policy decisions are farther reaching and longer lasting. We cannot afford to make the wrong choice when it comes to geopolitical choices.

Any critically thinking American who desires to make a truly informed choice in the best interests of the American people should buy and read The Choice by Walid Phares.

Dorothy Logan is a strategic communication consultant and professor of political science.

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