A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

William R. Polk on Syria

William R. Polk is one of the well-known names in the Middle East field, or was at one time: first head of the Middle East Studies Department at Chicago, in between government stints in the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Administrations, author of books on Middle Eastern history (The Opening of South Lebanon) and politics. He was already renowned the only time I met him, when I was a newly-minted Ph.D., but he's still around, now in his 80s, and he has contributed a piece to James Fallows' column for The Atlantic on Syria. It's a lengthy piece: on the evidence,  questions about the evidence, questions about Israel's role in all this, questions about potential outcomes and risks. There's also a discussion of the role of climate change in Syria's problems, a history of the use of chemical weapons, and more. Whatever your position on a US attack, when Bill Polk with his long experience of the region speaks, it is at least worthy of attention. You may not share his conclusions, but you'll almost certainly learn something along the way.

1 comment:

T. Rice, Chicago said...

Is what Polk is saying ....?

We're not really sure who deployed the weapons.

We really haven't a clue about who the "freedom" fighters are.

Sounds like a great recipe for foreign policy success.

Forward into Big Muddy!