World

11 questions with ‘Road to Fatima Gate’ author Michael Totten

9. What country keeps you up at night in terms of being a threat to America?

I can fall asleep almost instantly (waking up is more complicated), so nothing keeps me up at night except a late cup of coffee. I can and do sleep soundly even in war zones. But the one country that troubles me most — for all the usual reasons, but also for some of my own — is Iran. What Iran has done to the parts of Lebanon it controls through Hezbollah is absolutely horrendous, and I watched with my own eyes the Iranian government try with all its might to do the same thing in Iraq through the militias it sponsored there.

I don’t believe Iran will use nuclear weapons against Israel, but at the same time we and the Israelis would be fools to think it can’t happen. I believe Iran won’t nuke Israel, but I don’t believe that in quite the same way that I believe France won’t nuke Israel.

If Iran and its Syrian, Hezbollah, and Hamas allies all decide to wage war at the same time — watch out. The entire region will burn, and the entire world’s energy source will be jeopardized to an extent few of us would be comfortable contemplating for long.

10. What books most influenced your worldview?

It’s easier for me to say which authors have influenced my worldview than which books of theirs in particular, and my answer is George Orwell, Paul Berman, and Christopher Hitchens.

11. Any plans to write another book? If so, what about?

I have two more books coming out soonish. The first is called “In the Wake of the Surge,” and it takes place entirely in Iraq. The second is called “Where the West Ends: Stories from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus.”