How Israel Wins

To the Editor: While reading Daniel Pipes’s article on Israeli defense policy, it occurred to me that much current Israeli deterrence policy focuses on infrastructure and people (“A New Strategy for Israeli Victory,” January). When Gilad Shalit was

A Parent’s Guide to College Visits

My youngest child is in 11th grade, so it’s time to strap on the sandals again and tour some colleges. After immersing myself in several this week in the Boston area, I offer some impressions: College visits are impressively organized and quite alike,

Breaking the Palestinians’ Will to Fight

Daniel Polisar of Shalem College in Jerusalem shook the debate over Palestinian-Israeli relations in November 2015 with his essay, “What Do Palestinians Want?” In it, having studied 330 polls to “understand the perspective of everyday Palestinians”

No to Bombing Syria

The Obama Administration rightly stayed out of Syria through six painful, grisly years of civil war there. Yes, the fighting has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. Yes, the uncontrolled migration of Syrians to Europe caused deep

A Return to the Academy

I just attended a two-day academic conference at the University of Pennsylvania, in part out of interest in the topic (“American & Muslim Worlds ca. 1500-1900”), in part to get a first-hand sense of discourse in the humanities at the contemporary

Another Attempt at “Extreme Vetting”

Donald Trump first coined the phrase “extreme vetting” in July 2016, in the aftermath of the truck attack in Nice, France. For nine months, he and his advisors have been trying to figure out what this means in practice. Their first iteration, announced

Historians Run Amok

The eminent historian Niall Ferguson has devastatingly skewered his (and my) field of study in a talk for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, subsequently published as “The Decline and Fall of History.” He starts with the empirical fact that

Bibliography – My Writings on the Caliphate

The caliphate was a key political institution of early Islam that withered over the centuries and by the 940s ce had become a vestige of its former self. For the next near-millennium, the institution continued in an attenuated form, eventually becoming

The Caliphate, Al-Qaeda, and Global Jihad

A question often asked is, “What do the jihadis (Mujahideen) want?” The answer is surprisingly obscure, as most of their attacks do not include clear demands. The horrific attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 and in Paris in November 2015 were carried out

What Do Jihadis Want? The Caliphate

A question often asked is, “What do the jihadis [Mujahideen] want?” The answer is surprisingly obscure, as most of their attacks do not include clear demands. The horrific attacks on Mumbai in November 2008 and on Paris in November 2015 were carried out

Ike’s Gamble

When Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute told me he’s writing a book on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Middle East policy, I nodded politely, wondering why someone engaged in current policy issues would devote himself to a topic of mainly antiquarian

Jordan at the Precipice

“We’re in dire straits.” So spoke Jordan’s King Abdullah a half-year ago. A just-completed week of intensive travels and discussions throughout Jordan finds no one disagreeing with that assessment. Jordan may no longer be hyper-vulnerable and under

Erdoğan to Me: Stay Out of Turkey

I participated yesterday in a conference about the eastern Mediterranean at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) just outside Tel Aviv; and because Tel Aviv is the diplomatic center of Israel, its events attract a good number of diplomats.