Why Middle East Studies Is a Mess, and Why It Matters

The legacy of Edward Said and his acolytes, writes Michael Rubin, has rendered the discipline of Middle East studies incapable of addressing the actual problems facing the Middle East, with severe consequences for U.S. policymaking:

The reason why Said remains so popular on campuses . . . is that he justified prioritizing politics above scholarly rigor. No longer would radical professors need to prove truth; they could just assert it and make it so. Up was down, wrong was right, and power was original sin. Middle East studies scholars have become so insulated within their Saidian universe that they never challenge each other’s basic assumptions. . . .

Within the United States, the best example of this is Rashid Khalidi. A former PLO press attaché turned academic, Khalidi is now the Edward Said Chair at Columbia University in New York. . . . He preached the idea that the region’s root problems lie not in radical ideologies but rather in grievances born from Western intervention and the Arab-Israeli conflict. . . .

Khalidi, Said, [and likeminded professors] all saw occupation and military intervention as the region’s core problems. President Obama followed their policy prescriptions to a “T.” He withdrew precipitously from Iraq and Afghanistan, “led from behind” in Libya, and allowed the Syrian conflict to metastasize. It might not fit in academe’s worldview, but Western power projection is the proverbial finger in the dike that prevents a deluge of chaos.

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Read more at Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

More about: Academia, Barack Obama, Edward Said, Idiocy, Middle East, Rashid Khalidi

 

How Israel Helps Uphold the U.S.-Backed Liberal International Order

Oct. 16 2019

Seeking to reverse decades of diplomatic isolation, and in response to increasing hostility from Western Europe, Jerusalem in recent years has cultivated better relations with a variety of states, including some with unsavory rulers—ranging from the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While such a policy has provoked sharp criticism in some quarters, Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem explain that a small country like Israel does not have the luxury of disdaining potential allies, and, moreover, continues to do much to support American interests and with them the “liberal international order,” such as it is. Take the fraught case of its relations with Russia:

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Read more at National Review

More about: Israel diplomacy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations, Vladimir Putin