How Western Foreign Policy Experts Got The Middle East Wrong and Why They're Getting It Wrong Again

Lecture by Dr. Barry Rubin

Thursday, March 10, 2011 • 7:00 p.m.
Luxe Hotel Sunset
11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

Amid all the speculation and panic, opinion and punditry about the current ongoing turmoil in Egypt and the Middle East, one man’s perspective cuts through the fog like a lighthouse beam.

The protests cascading across the Middle East are shaking much more than the Arab autocracies that have dominated the region for decades. Things that we thought were stable in the Middle East have turned out to be fragile, while movements that were supposed to be weak have turned into powerful tsunamis of change. Long-held beliefs are falling by the wayside.

Despite these upheavals, the same old self-styled experts are trotting out the same tired and debunked conventional wisdom about the region.

They have had to change the players around, but the apologies and fantasies are all the same. Instead of secular Arab nationalists like Yasser Arafat moderating before signing Oslo, now it's that fanatical Muslim leaders like Yusuf al-Qaradawi can be dealt with. Instead of Hamas professionalizing after seizing Gaza, now it's that Hezbollah will integrate into Lebanon. The contexts are different but the excuses remain the same.

Meanwhile Barry Rubin has been working tirelessly to dispel exactly this fog of misinformation. Dr. Rubin has been a Middle East writer and analyst for more than 30 years, and is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center. He has written 23 books, edited an additional 32 books, and is the editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. There is literally not a topic in the Middle East that Dr. Rubin has not addressed, often in terms strikingly different than the conventional wisdom - and always with analysis that proves to be more incisive, and predictions that turn out to be more accurate, than the conventional wisdom.

There is perhaps no one able to speak about the instability rocking the Middle East, both in specific contexts and in the broadest of terms, than Barry Rubin.

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