We launched our first Caravan in February 2012 under the leadership of our friend and colleague Fouad Ajami. Fouad spent his life studying, teaching and writing about the rich culture and history of the Middle East. He was a man of the East and of the West – a son of Lebanon who proudly became a US citizen. He loved his adopted country and was a patriot in the truest sense of the word. Fouad’s passing in June 2014 left a void in Middle East scholarship – friends and strangers alike had come to depend on him for his unique understanding of the region he loved and for which he worked, through his writing and commentary, to bring about a better future.
The Arab Spring was the break with the terrible status quo that he had always dreamed of, and the aftermath, which he only briefly glimpsed, pained him. But he never did or would have lost hope in human possibilities or the positive role America could play. The Caravan was conceived as a vehicle for thoughtful and elevated discourse on that part of the world and our relation to it.
We therefore hope to continue on that path with a series of essays on the consequences of the Iran "deal" for regional and international security. Is this a story line of American abdication? The Arab autocrats are being toppled, the Islamists are in ascendency and the Iranian theocrats have stepped forth. How do the powers in the region and in Europe address this turn of events in American diplomacy? The first contribution is by Russell Berman and will be followed by Stephen D. Krasner, Colin Dueck, Mehdi Khalaji, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and Charles Hill. In the future, the Caravan will address other pertinent questions in a similar manner.