- One of the biggest problems with Middle East Studies in the U.S. has been the Middle East Studies Association — MESA. I grew up under MESA-ites, was educated by them (or miseducated). Longtime readers may remember my accounts of misspent days in a Middle Eastern Studies department. MESA, as a whole, is dedicated to a left-wing, illiberal, Islamist-excusing position. Martin Kramer wrote an entire book about this.
At any rate, two excellent and independent thinkers — Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami — have formed a new association: the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. (You can read about it here.) The purpose of ASMEA is to break the monopoly of MESA — to provide an alternative. But we all know that monopolies do not like alternatives. In fact, they fear and loathe them, and often try to crush them.
Here's to the prosperity of ASMEA, and to everything else that Lewis and Ajami do. They are two of the most valuable men we have.