a1 University of Chicago
Revolution, war, and political stalemate in the Middle East have led many analysts to declare U.S. policy in the Middle East a failure. To a considerable extent this failure is attributed to an unwillingness to use the area experts who have the requisite knowledge. Often, however, knowledge, intelligence, and analysis are conflated. Frequently, expertise and advocacy are confused. In practice it is difficult to separate scientific knowledge from partisan ideological commitment. Hence the close association between government and the social scientific/area studies community may well defeat the purpose of providing objective and institutionally neutral bases for policy making. Despite some recent trends toward linking the enhanced funding of area studies with more direct service of the needs of government agencies, it may actually be more desirable to explore better ways of detaching area studies from the institutional establishment and the policy orientations of the current National Defense Education Act system.
Leonard Binder is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author and/or editor of a number of works on the Middle East, including The Study of the Middle East (1976) and In a Moment of Enthusiasm (1978). Professor Binder is past president of the Middle East Studies Association. He is currently at work on a study of Islamic liberalism and regime change.
* This article went to press in December 1983.