The following monograph, calling for a revival of American expeditionary diplomacy in Arab lands, was completed shortly before the present global pandemic. It expresses the core argument of a forthcoming book, and departs from some prevalent assumptions about American Mideast policy.
Now is a time of many departures — and a single preoccupation. As Americans join others around the world in severely limiting their own movement, this monograph’s vision of spirited travel and intimate engagement with distant peoples may strike some readers as antediluvian. Alas, as the study also shows, Americans missed a number of opportunities to engage Arab peoples in improving the region over the decades when doing so was much easier than it is today.
May the time be soon when human determination and grit have defeated COVID-19, and Americans, no longer self-isolated, share a heightened yearning to connect with the world around them. May that bright day also mark the beginning of a new solidarity and partnership across the barriers of sect, ethnicity, and national identity in the Middle East and North Africa — an outcome toward which Arab liberals, championed in this monograph, have long been working.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan organization that seeks to publish well-argued, policy-oriented articles on American foreign policy and national security priorities.