A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

US Political Scientists and the Middle East

May I call to your attention to two posts by Andrew Exum and by Issandr El Amrani, both of them dealing with the question of whether the emphasis on quantitative analysis in US political science departments is singularly ill-suited to analysis of Middle Eastern regimes (where the numbers, if they exist at all, are likely cooked). As a historian who has to read a lot of political science by recent Ph.D.s due to the nature of my job, I'd like to applaud both of them for their views, which I largely share.

However, since the context is the debate over why academia didn't see the Middle Eastern revolts coming, I'd only note that so far as I know nobody did: not the security services in the countries in question, and not the foreign intelligence analysts.

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