Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, to be published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reports, and now on his new blog, Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media
By Barry Rubin
Jackson Diehl is by far the best journalist writing in the mass media about the Middle East. In a recent column he tries to find some middle ground between the dominant ideas — that Islamist regimes are no problem at all and that the Muslim Brotherhood is really moderate — and what he defines as an excessively extreme conservative and Republican analysis.
While I don’t quite agree with him, there is much of merit in his dichotomy. We should all learn from it even though I’m going to suggest that it needs to be adjusted. Even if Obama’s critics are on the right side about the Middle East and generally understand what’s happening, many of them also make factual and analytical mistakes that undermine their credibility and may sometimes subvert their policies if they win office.
In addition, Diehl reminds us (how rarely that happens nowadays!) how good it feels to debate with people who actually think about the issues and cite evidence even if we disagree with them. He actually believes that there is merit on both sides of the argument, again an attempt at balance what often seems to be close to extinction in this sad era.
Continue reading Where the “Counter-Obama” View of the Middle East is Right and Where It’s Wrong
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