Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads (Hardcover)
Rundell, a retired American foreign service officer who spent most of his career based in Saudi Arabia, writes insightfully about the vast changes in the kingdom’s governance during the past two decades. In the process, he blasts a hole in typical western stereotypes. (Yes, female professional wrestling really is now legal.) Unlike messy democracies, absolute rulers really do get to take the long view. Rundell is cautiously optimistic about many of the very significant pivots that are being put in place while being fully aware that these big bets could all fall apart. ~ Dave— From Staff Favorites 2020
'Clear-eyed and illuminating.'
Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor
General David Petraeus, former Commander U.S. Central Command and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
'Destined to be the best single volume on the Kingdom.'
Ambassador Chas Freeman, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Assistant Secretary of Defense 'Should be prescribed reading for a new generation of political leaders.'
Sir Richard Dearlove, former Chief of H.M. Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Something extraordinary is happening in Saudi Arabia. A traditional, tribal society once known for its lack of tolerance is rapidly implementing significant economic and social reforms. An army of foreign consultants is rewriting the social contract, King Salman has cracked down hard on corruption, and his dynamic though inexperienced son, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is promoting a more tolerant Islam. But is all this a new vision for Saudi Arabia or merely a mirage likely to dissolve into Iranian-style revolution? David Rundell - one of America's foremost experts on Saudi Arabia - explains how the country has been stable for so long, why it is less so today, and what is most likely to happen in the future. The book is based on the author's close contacts and intimate knowledge of the country where he spent 15 years living and working as a diplomat. Vision or Mirage demystifies one of the most powerful, but least understood, states in the Middle East and is essential reading for anyone interested in the power dynamics and politics of the Arab World.