The Bitter Taste of Hope

Ideals, Ideologies, and Interests in the Age of Obama

By Stephen Eric Bronner

Subjects: United States Foreign Policy, Presidency, The, Middle East Politics, General Interest, Social Movements
Series: SUNY series in New Political Science
Paperback : 9781438465487, 210 pages, July 2017
Hardcover : 9781438465494, 210 pages, April 2017

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Table of contents

Introduction: Obama’s Legacy
Part I: Ideals and Interests

1. Understanding Utopia

2. The Enlightenment Lives!

3. Rosa in Cairo

4. Counter-Revolution, Enlightenment, Republic: A Cosmopolitan Sketch

5. Tolerating Intolerance

6. Albert Camus: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of His Death

7. Immigrants and Refugees: Krisztian Simon Interviews Stephen Eric Bronner for the Hungarian and East European Blog Kettős Mérce
Part II: Murderous Impulses

8. Learning the Ropes: Remarks on the Ideological Preconditions for Genocide

9. Gaza on My Mind: Old Hopes, Mistaken Assumptions, and New Ideas on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

10. Netanyahu’s Rhetoric

11. Garbage People

12. Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes

13. Visiting Assad

14. A Short Report on Violence in the United States
Part III: Rebellion American Style

15. Socialism in America

16. On Paul Robeson

17. Remembering Fitch: Reflections on a Solitary Syndicalist

18. Tea Time

19. Walking Wall Street

20. Vilifying Frances

21. One-Dimensional Man at Fifty
Part IV: War and Peace

22. The Sovereign

23. The Forest and the Trees: The United States in Afghanistan

24. Talking in Tehran

25. America’s Israel

26. Closing the Deal: America, Iran, and the Nuclear Treaty of 2015

Concluding Thoughts: Human Rights, Political Realism, and the Uses of Power


Essays that critically evaluate America's domestic and foreign policy landscape since President Obama took office.


President Barack Obama was elected to office on a wave of hope. With his tenure as President of the United States now concluded it is time to take stock of his record at home and abroad. The Bitter Taste of Hope is a collection of essays that critically evaluate America's domestic landscape on the one hand, particularly new social movements, and the nation's foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, on the other. Stephen Eric Bronner engages a wide-ranging set of political and ideological conflicts that defined the "Age of Obama," especially the most pressing international concerns that have developed in accord with an increasingly globalized world. Bronner illuminates not only well-known events like the American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, the plight of the Palestinians, and the Arab Spring but also matters about which the general public knows little such as the national hopes of the Circassians, the complexities of Sudan, and the pitiful existence endured by the Coptic Christians of Cairo. Clearly written, lively in its style, interdisciplinary in conception and timely in its message, The Bitter Taste of Hope will undoubtedly prove required reading for activists and academics alike.

Stephen Eric Bronner is Board of Governors Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and the author of many books, including Moments of Decision: Political History and the Crises of Radicalism and The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists.