Islamism and the International Order Working Group

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Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

The Follies Of Democracy Promotion

by Samuel Tadrosvia Analysis
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

President Obama’s election was warmly greeted in Egypt by both the country’s leader and population. In Cairo, Obama promised a new beginning, not only in America’s relationship with Egypt, but the whole Muslim world. By the time he left office, the American Egyptian relationship was in shambles. In this essay, Samuel Tadros examines the illusions that shaped Obama’s adventure in Egypt in pursuit of an imaginary transition to democracy, offering a cautionary tale for the Trump administration. If the US Egyptian alliance is to be strengthened and Egypt is to survive the regional upheaval, President Trump should forgo the illusions Washington holds about the country and base his strategy toward Egypt not on Egypt as it should be, but on Egypt as it is.

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Jihadism On Its Own Terms

by Cole Bunzelvia Hoover Institution
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In this essay Cole Bunzel argues that jihadism, the modern movement in Sunni Islam identified with al-Qaida and the Islamic State, is best understood on its own terms, rather than in terms of terrorism, violent extremism, or the larger Islamist movement. Examining the jihadis’ own writings and ideas and emphasizing their self-perception as a distinct movement—“the jihadis,” “the jihadi current”—he explains the nature and contours of their movement as it has developed during the past decades to the present day. As jihadism grows increasingly popular, it has also become increasingly divided.

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Man, The Religious Animal

by Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

World affairs aren’t matters of politics and economics alone. We ignore religion at our own peril. 

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Should Middle East Religious-Minority Refugees Be Prioritized?

by Samuel Tadrosvia Public Orthodoxy
Monday, January 30, 2017

President Trump’s executive order on refugees has been widely, and rightly, criticized on policy and moral grounds. But while criticism of the executive order is indeed proper and necessary, one aspect of the new policy, namely the prioritization of claims of religious persecution by religious minorities in refugee applications, which has received wide criticism, should in fact be hardly controversial.

middle east
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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New US Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Analysis
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Of the foreign policy challenges that face the new administration in Washington, perhaps none is more significant than that of the Middle East.  From spawning terrorism to supplying the bulk of the world’s fuels to destabilizing Europe with a wave of migration, its problems reverberate far beyond its borders.  Under the Obama administration, Iran and Russia have been allowed to supplant the United States as a regional hegemon, and the result has been destabilizing to the point of threatening the international order. 

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Ten Proposals On The Middle East For The New U.S. Administration

by Russell A. Berman, Charles Hillvia Defining Ideas
Friday, January 13, 2017

The new administration will inherit a Middle East foreign policy in tatters—and the aspirations of Obama's 2009 Cairo speech have not been met.  

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The Story of the Tunisian Revolution

by Samuel Tadrosvia Analysis
Monday, December 19, 2016

The simple narrative of a frustrated Tunisian street vendor's desperate act igniting the flames of Arab revolutions has captured the world’s imagination. Yet no serious examination has been undertaken to understand what actually took place in the halls of power that led to Tunisia’s strongman, Zein El Abedine Ben Ali, fleeing his country. In this essay, Samuel Tadros examines an important book written by two Tunisian journalists investigating the revolution. The story offers us important insights into the nature of Arab regimes, their inherent weaknesses, the culture of mistrust they sow, and how the powerful house Ben Ali had constructed was figuratively built on sand. The story of what transpired in Tunisia during its revolution stands as a cautionary tale regarding the narratives that have come to dominate the way the Arab revolutions and events in the broader region have been reported and understood.

World Puzzle
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Strategic Planning for the New Administration

by Colin Dueckvia Analysis
Thursday, December 15, 2016

The next administration will face urgent, practical questions of how to organize its National Security Council decision-making process while developing a strong foreign policy strategy.  Strategic planning can help to make international success more likely, in part by providing the president with clear, well-informed policy options.  Yet no process can work if it does not fit the individual president.  To that end, the following essay examines the new president-elect's decision-making style, and then outlines six specific NSC recommendations: 1. Learn from private sector experience, 2. Develop and execute a meaningful national security strategy early on, 3. Restore a proper balance of responsibilities between the NSC and line departments and agencies, 4. Encourage the president's national security adviser to play the roles of honest broker, policy entrepreneur, and presidential agent, 5. Appoint and empower a strategic planning directorate on the NSC staff, and 6. Consider creating an effective strategic planning board.  In the end, the case is made that strategy is possible; bureaucratic consensus overrated; and defeatism unhelpful.

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Strategy And Assets In The Middle East

by Russell A. Bermanvia The Caravan
Monday, September 26, 2016

The goal of this Caravan has been to provide an account of the strategic underpinning of the challenges the US faces and which the next administration—whoever occupies the White House—will have to address. Five distinguished experts have explained how the historical preeminence of American military power in the region cannot be taken for granted. It can be maintained only through a clear strategic vision and the political will to act on it. 

Navy boat patrolling in the Gulf of Aqaba
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Eastern Mediterranean: Do Not Write Off States Just Yet

by Ehud Eiran, Aviad Rubinvia The Caravan
Friday, September 23, 2016

Do not write off states as power brokers in the Eastern Mediterranean maritime arena just yet. It is easy to do so. Great powers (past, present and aspiring) as well as non-state actors seem to have eroded the centrality of regional state actors in shaping the region’s maritime security environment in the last few years. 

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The Caravan


Visit the Caravan, a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the greater Middle East.

Featured Essay Series

 

Featured Books

The Working Group on Islamism and the International Order seeks to engage in the task of reversing Islamic radicalism through reforming and strengthening the legitimate role of the state across the entire Muslim world.

Efforts will draw on the intellectual resources of an array of scholars and practitioners from within the United States and abroad, to foster the pursuit of modernity, human flourishing, and the rule of law and reason in Islamic lands–developments that are critical to the very order of the international system. The working group is chaired by Hoover fellows Russell Berman and Charles Hill.

Visit The Caravan, a periodic symposium on the contemporary dilemmas of the greater Middle East.