"The Great oil boom was an event so profoundly and broadly influential that it provides the key to understanding the surge of Islam.." — Daniel Pipes, 1983.1
"Yet it is naive to attribute the Islamic revival mainly to oil." — John Esposito, 1985.2
"Yes, I did publish a book in 1983, In the Path of God, suggesting that the resurgence of Islam in the 1970s resulted from the boom in oil wealth. At this point I don't know what causes fundamentalism....[It] may be too complicated for us to figure out." — Daniel Pipes, 1994.3
"In the long run, many academics were proved right." — David D. Newsom, 1995-96.4
Policy is the codification of politics. They are inextricably linked, making consensus among the policy community essential to articulating and implementing a cohesive and consistent policy. This is particularly true in American foreign policy, given its significance and complexity. In the specific case, for example, of how America should deal with the phenomenon of Islamic resurgence, consensus has been lacking, and for over two decades a vitriolic debate has raged among politicians, policy makers, practitioners, academics, journalists and policy entrepreneurs.5
This paper is an attempt to make sense of the circus that American foreign-policy making has become, due to the competition between national interests and special interests. Two perspectives have emerged,6 one advanced by academics and the other by "policy entrepreneurs." While attempting to shed light on the politics of policy making, my primary objective is to contextualize the role of various communities of specialists in the shaping of American foreign policy towards Islam.
TWO CULTURES: ACADEMIA AND POLICY-MAKING
Alexander George has devoted his career to reducing the gap between the practitioners of American foreign policy and academics who study it.7 He argues that even though a substantial mingling of the two cultures has taken place,8 bridging the gap between the two worlds has been increasingly slow and difficult, especially in the area of conflict management and use of force.9 George chooses to attribute the differences between policy makers and academics to "culture," that is, different practices, operational styles and professional missions.10
David Newsom, a former U.S. ambassador and under-secretary of state and a distinguished professor of international relations who has first-hand experience of both cultures, presents the dichotomy as one between actors and observers.11 He contends that while, in the long run, academics have been proven right, practitioners are more concerned with the articulation and justification of current policy. This preference leads them to often ignore advice from academics, whose concern is intellectual. Practitioners generally seek to balance domestic and international politics, resources and realities in an effort to hammer out a workable policy.12
Both George and Newsom observe that academics tend to prefer theory to pragmatism. International-relations (IR) scholars are primarily concerned with eliciting generalizable conclusions and may gloss over specific particularities that may have grave policy relevance. A mutual distrust exists between the two groups that could be attributed to an absence of communication.13 However, IR scholars are not the only academics who write about U.S. foreign policy. Regional scholars, area specialists and historians also offer criticism and advice to the foreign-policy establishment, and these disciplines are outstanding for their lack of theorizing.
Gary Sick, an expert on Iran, who, like Newsom, has experienced both the cultures of academia and policy making,14 makes a similar observation:
There is a deep and widening gap between the perception of Iran by the Washington policy community, on the one hand and by many if not most academic specialists on the other. Given the divergence of interests between these two groups, perhaps this should not surprise us; but to me, as one who has worked both sides of that fence, the present emergence of two contradictory "truths" about Iran goes far beyond the usual differences between policy wonks and eggheads.
Norvell B. De Atkine, a practitioner, also expresses disappointment at the lack of influence that Middle East scholars have on U.S. foreign policy:15
American specialists on the Middle East are not just talented but have replaced their British colleagues as the greatest sources of knowledge on the region. Why then are they out of the loop?
His response to the question is a polemical condemnation of academics in the field. He casts aspersions on their loyalty, dismisses their commitment to objectivity and methodology, and finally declares them unreliable because of their obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict. He accuses the entire academy of being inclined towards apologizing for Islamism rather than producing knowledge that can be used to shape American foreign policy.16 To grasp what has so exercised De Atkine, one needs to understand the issues and actors involved in the debate.
THE POLICY TERRAIN
The debate over whether Islamic resurgence presents a threat to the West or not is now concentrated on two issues. One, are there any moderates among the millions who advocate a return to an Islamic way of life and are actively involved in it at the intellectual, social, political and radical levels?17 Two, is the advice academics are giving to the administration sound or tainted by sympathy for Islamism and Marxism?18
The debate on the first issue involves three major players: practitioners from the National Security Council and the Department of State, academics and scholars of Islam and the Middle East, and policy entrepreneurs from think tanks and the media. The second debate has been in a sense initiated by the academics who lament that their influence on policy has gradually decreased to the point where they feel alienated from government. Rashid Khalidi, a recent president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), lamented in his presidential address, "Expertise on the Middle East is simply ignored by governments and to a lesser degree by the media and other institutions of civil society."19 This feeling is echoed by Gary Sick, who is appalled at the extent to which the foreign-policy establishment has ignored the advice and research of academics.20 Part of the explanation is that the policy entrepreneurs have cast aspersions on the relevance and even the loyalty of the academics in an attempt to convince the administration to eschew their advice.21 Let us examine the three groups that constitute the policy community.
Practitioners are the foreign-policy establishment: members of the NSC, the State Department and the Defense establishment. In a symposium conducted by the Middle East Policy Council (Washington, D.C., May 26, 1994), Ambassador Robert Pelletreau, the assistant secretary for Near East affairs, articulated the U.S. position towards Islamic resurgence.22 He said that the prism through which the United States views the Middle East is U.S. interests:23 (1) peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors; (2) the security and well-being of Israel; (3) an assured access to energy sources; (4) non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and prevention of destabilizing arms transfers; (5) promotion of democracy and human rights; (6) an end to terrorist activities; (7) promotion of development, a market economy and investment opportunities.
I find it rather curious that, while the ambassador was explicit in underlining the well-being of Israel as an American interest, he did not deem it necessary to state that America sees good relations with Muslims (nearly a quarter of the world population) as an American interest. Perhaps that is taken for granted. In this statement, the Muslim world emerges merely as a "source" for energy resources, markets and political instability.
Ambassador Pelletreau then elaborated the official posture of the United States towards Islam and contemporary Islamic resurgence. He pointed out that, unlike the media and certain segments of the policy community, the government believed that the term Islamic fundamentalism was misleading and often used indiscriminately. To avoid this confusion, the foreign-affairs community preferred to use the term "political Islam" to refer to Islamic groups and movements with specific political goals.24 Ambassador Pelletreau spelled out the American position toward contemporary Islamic resurgence in the following terms:25
1. We view the religion of Islam with great respect. Islam is one of history's civilizing movements that has enriched our own culture.
2. While it is true that the concepts and symbols of Islam at times are exploited by extremists, this should not blind us to the legitimacy of the broader study and debate about the proper role of Islam in societies and governments of the region.
3. We, as a government, have no quarrel with Islam.
4. We reject the notion that renewed emphasis on traditional values in many parts of the Islamic world must lead inevitably to conflict with the West.
5. However, certain manifestations of the Islamic revival are intensely antiWestern and aim not only at elimination of Western influences but at resisting any form of cooperation with the West or modernization at home. Such tendencies are clearly hostile to U.S. interests.
6. But we see no monolithic international control being exercised over the various Islamic movements active in the region.
The fact that the administration is able to articulate a cohesive and unambiguous policy does not suggest that there is a broad consensus on all the issues among all parts of the policy community. Given the complexity of the foreign-policy establishment, it is difficult to capture "the official position" merely on the basis of statements made by State Department officials. Often one can hear different signals from the White House, the Congress and State. It is also not unusual for these signals to be contradictory.26 But on this issue the espoused positions of the NSC and State are very similar.
The administration's policy is criticized by both the academics and policy entrepreneurs. The academics criticize the administration for not standing up for the principles it espouses in policy statements, such as support for democracy.27 They criticize it for often justifying policy objectives in the light of values such as human rights and democracy28 while continuing to tolerate undemocratic measures by governments in Algeria and Egypt.29 They also criticize the administration for having strong relations with states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel, which systematically violate human rights and continue to use violent means of repression. While the academics are nearly in agreement with the administration's espoused policies, they are, however, not encouraged by its actual policies toward Algeria, Egypt, Israel and the Arabian peninsula.30 Policy entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are unhappy with the United States for not being tougher on the Islamists.
Scholars of Islam and the Middle East are disturbed by the policies of their governments, especially with the widening gap between espoused principles and actual practices. They are concerned about the manner in which the media and the governments in the West have attempted to construe Islam as the new global threat after the demise of the Soviet Union. Many academics are not just critical of the policy, they also play a constructive role in defining the principles and direction of the policy.31 A useful list of academics involved in the debate around U.S. foreign policy is furnished by De Atkine and Pipes in their attacks:32 John Esposito, John Voll, Yvonne Haddad, Hisham Sharabi, Judith Tucker, Mamoun Fandy and Michael Hudson, all from Georgetown University; Edward Said, Richard Bulliet and Lisa Anderson of Columbia University; Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins; Richard Falk of Princeton; and John Alden Williams and James Bill of the College of William and Mary.
In recent years, even as the media and the policy entrepreneurs went overboard in their attempts to paint Islam as the new threat to the free world, the academics managed to establish an alternate school of thought that challenges such formulations. They argue for a more sophisticated understanding of Islamic resurgence and are critical of the simplistic formulations of the media and the entrepreneurs. The recognition of this school of thought was clearly manifest in the Middle East Policy Council symposium referred to above. Representatives of the three subgroups of the policy community were present to articulate their respective positions.33
The academics maintain that the term "Islamic fundamentalism," especially when used as indiscriminately as it is, merely generates stereotypes and misinforms policy. Esposito points out that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Libya are labeled fundament-alist. He wonders what exactly is common to a revolutionary Islamic Iran that is hostile to the United States, a traditional monarchy in Saudi Arabia that is its best ally in the region and a socialist Libya that is as vulnerable to Islamic resurgence — as are other states such as Tunisia and Morocco.34 Islamic fundamentalism, in Esposito's opinion, is a pejorative used to demonize Islamic resurgence.35 Others, such as Zachary Karabell, Graham Fuller and Ian Lesser, have also argued that the use of the term serves to delegitimize and demonize attempts by Muslims to apply their religion to their own lives.36
The following points sum up the academics' position:37
1. The state and the media look at Islamic resurgence through the prism of Iran/ Khomeini and overlook the diversity of contemporary Islamic movements.
2. Islamic movements function in Muslim societies to provide social services and enhance political awareness. Labeling these moderate and popular movements extremist has justified violent and indiscriminate repression.38
3. Islamic moderates such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Jamaat in Pakistan, Refah in Turkey and the FIS in Algeria have genuinely contributed to the development of civil society and democratic impulses. Labeling them extremists has justified their repression by authoritarian regimes, leading to an unnecessary radicalization of some of the moderate forces.
4. Violence and terrorism are the acts of a small minority, often in retaliation against state repression or Israeli excesses in occupied Palestine and Lebanon.
5. Blaming Islam is misleading. The United States should consider the political situation, economic conditions, development issues, unemployment and maldistribution of wealth in its assessment of the conditions in Muslim societies.
6. The cases of Jordan, Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia, where Islamists have been allowed to participate in the political process and have been co-opted satisfactorily into the system, should encourage the West to have dialogue with the moderates and allow them to enter into the political process elsewhere too.39
7. Islam and democracy are not incompatible.40 Democratic values are realized when Islamists come to power democratically.
8. The assumption that secularism is a universal value and that all should embrace it regardless of their beliefs and values is problematic. "Secular fundamentalism" leads to a preference for repressive and authoritarian secular regimes over nonsecular and popular ones.
9. In principle, the United States should not object to the implementation of Islamic law or the participation of Islamic activists in government.41
As this summary suggests, the academics disagree with some of the practices of the United States, but tend to agree with the espoused principles of the policy. Over the years, the official position has tended to shift increasingly in the direction suggested by the academics. The issue of Islamic resurgence is now into its third decade. In the long run, as Newsom points out with other relevant examples,42 academics are usually proved right. Thus the long life of this issue has resulted in the administration's gradually realizing the wisdom and value of systematic research and genuine scholarship. Academics in this area do not theorize excessively. They understood the needs of the practitioners and appreciate the constraints and limitations under which they operate.43 Thus, while the gap between academics and practitioners has closed significantly, consensus is still not in sight.
The Policy Entrepreneurs
The policy community has seen the gradual development of a third dimension, composed of non-academic and even some academic experts, former government employees, journalists and lobbyists. Unlike the academics, the policy entrepreneurs' interest in the issue is not intellectual, nor is their objective the advancement of knowledge. They are primarily driven by a policy preference, which they seek to impose on the policy-making process. They bring a composite of concern, professionalism and ideological activism to bear on this task.
The most articulate and outspoken policy entrepreneur is Daniel Pipes, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Others are Judith Miller, a senior New York Times reporter; Steve Emerson, a free-lance reporter and documentary film maker; professors Barry Rubin, Patrick Clawson and Bernard Lewis (the quintessential Orientalist); Martin Kramer, an Israeli academic; and think-tank analysts like Peter Rodman of the Nixon Institute. These individuals stand out for their consistent policy preferences regarding Islamic resurgence. I am not suggesting that the group acts in cohesion to advance a particular objective. But in their similar policy preferences and their radical departure from the policy recommendations of the practitioners and academics, they constitute a distinct group.
The assessment of contemporary Islamic resurgence from the policy entrepreneurs' perspective has been articulated for over a decade by Pipes, Rubin, Rodman, Kramer, Miller and Lewis:44
1. There is a centralized international infrastructure of Muslim fundamentalists.45
2. This conspiracy is dedicated to the destruction of the West, Israel and American values.
3. The threat is similar to the global communist threat.46 In his article "Fundamentalist Muslims," Pipes equates the Quran to the writings of Marx and Engels.47 Bernard Lewis advances the idea of a global revolt of Islam.48
4. Fundamentalist Islam is an ideological interpretation geared toward mobilizing anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments. Adherents can be identified by their slogan "Islam is the solution."
5. Fundamentalists call on Muslims to adhere strictly to Islamic ways and believe they will prosper only if they do so.49
6. For centuries there has been an enduring clash of values and cultures between Islam and the West. The present American support for Israel and its domination of the Middle East is seen by these fundamentalists as the continuation of the Crusades. Therefore, the roots of Muslim resentment are historical and cultural, and the response is geared towards a destruction of all that the West stands for.50
This third dimension of the policy culture can be described as an epistemic community. Epistemic communities, according to Ernst Haas, are "composed of professionals (usually recruited from several disciplines) who share a commitment to a common causal model and a common set of political values. They are united by a belief in the truth of their model and by a commitment to translate this truth into public policy."53 Members share the same beliefs, as enumerated above, about contemporary Islamic resurgence. They all seem to share the same values, particularly an unconditional support for Israel and its military hegemony. They are all committed to a remorseless containment of Islamic resurgence (as evinced in their policy recommendations discussed below) since they seem to place Israel and Islam in the context of a zero-sum game.
The entrepreneurs are committed to the maintenance of a political and socioeconomic status quo in the Muslim societies of the Middle East. They assume as inevitable the worst-case scenario. Their commitment to policy goals that have not changed since the early eighties is comparable only to the fanatical adherence to Sharia and the Bible espoused by the most radical Islamic and Christian fundamentalists.54 It is this non-negotiable antipathy toward Islam and its contemporary resurgence that has led Leon Hadar and John Esposito to coin terms such as "anti-Muslim fundamentalists"55 and "secular fundamentalism" to explain these attitudes.56
The following are the principal recommendations of the Policy entrepreneurs:
1. America must refuse to engage the so-called fundamentalists in public or in any official capacity. Since in their opinion there are no moderates, the ban on communication extends to all Islamic activists, including those who are nonviolent and have expressed a willingness to participate in political and democratic processes.57
2. America must support everyone who is "in combat" with the fundamentalists,58 even if it means supporting repression, violation of human rights, curtailment of democratic processes, alignment with communists and even terrorist organizations who target populations in fundamentalist regimes (such as the People's Mujahadeen of Iran).59
3. The United States should pursue an activist policy that will both contain and roll back the so-called gains made by fundamentalist Islam in Iran and Sudan. Judith Miller explicitly recommends "a liberal militancy, or a militant liberalism that is unapologetic and unabashed" against Islamists.60
4. America must press fundamentalist states (Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan) to reduce their aggressiveness.
5. Democracy should not be promoted in the Muslim world until civil society has been developed.61
Pipes goes further, recommending peace first, then civil society, then elections.62 The entrepreneurs are severely critical of scholars such as John Esposito and Graham Fuller, who suggest that Islamic movements are democratic initiatives for liberty and should have more say in the way society is politically managed. Policy entrepreneurs, on the other hand, suggest that democracy be postponed until Islamic resurgence either subsides or is repressed by authoritarian governments with American support.
The recommendations of this epistemic community have two outstanding characteristics: a dogmatic consistency in policy preference, suggesting that it is more ideological than rational, and a tendency to use polemics against those who challenge their position.
TOO MUCH CONSISTENCY?
Since 1983 the policy entrepreneurs have maintained that Islamic resurgence, in all its forms, is inherently anti-West and must be either contained or militarily repressed, directly or through unconditional support (regardless of means and human-rights violations) to autocratic regimes such as those in Egypt and Algeria. The end of the Cold War and strong empirical evidence such as the good relations that America has enjoyed with conservative Islamic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (under Zia-ul-Haq) have not moderated their position. Evidence that when Islamists are allowed to participate in the political process they do so with responsibility (as in Pakistan, Malaysia, Jordan and Turkey) has yet to impinge on their analysis. The experience of Algeria, where radicalization was caused by the military junta and its reversal of the people's mandate, also suggests that it is repression and exclusion, not inclusion and tolerance, that lead to violence, radicalization and the politics of extremism.
Yet these stark realities have escaped some of these experts, who have watched the Middle East and studied Islamic resurgence for decades. They refuse to look into other potential sources of discontent, such as American activities in the Middle East, Israeli exploits, poverty, repression, authoritarianism or the arbitrary division of societies by former colonial empires.63 For them, Islam is the problem; Islamic resurgence is attributable to Muslims' resentment and hatred of America and the West and to their inherent antimodern disposition.64
These entrepreneurs emphasize the incompatibility of Islam and democracy65 by citing some radical Islamic activists and ignoring the fact that over 700 million Muslims live in democratic or semidemocratic states — Pakistan (140 million), Bangladesh (110 million) Turkey (60 million), Iran (65 million),66 Malaysia (20 million), Indonesia (200 million) and India (135 million). In three Islamic states, women have been elected as the top government leader: Tansu Çiller in Turkey, Begum Khalida Zia in Bangladesh and Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. These are indications that Muslims are not averse to democratic polities and that Islam and democracy,67 including governance by women, can coexist.68
Another phenomenon that the policy entrepreneurs systematically exclude from their analytical framework is the transformation of Yasser Arafat and his PLO. From being the world's premier international terrorist organization, the PLO has become Israel's and America's partner in the Middle East peace process. Arafat, once a "murderer," is now a respected guest at the White House and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize . While shifts in American-Israeli priorities and strategy are an explanatory element for this reinvention of Arafat and the PLO, it cannot be denied that inclusion of erstwhile terrorists in negotiations and diplomatic processes has contributed to their deradicalization.
However, if tomorrow the Americans and Israelis decide to exclude Arafat and the PLO from the peace process, one should not be surprised if the Nobel laureate once again resorts to the war of the weak. Similarly, exclusion of Islamists from political processes and negotiations, as vehemently recommended by Pipes et al., will lead to further radicalization and extremism. It is inclusion, as articulated by Ambassador Pelletreau and the academics, that will lead to democratization of Middle Eastern polities and deradicalization of extremists.
The policy entrepreneurs continue to ignore the benefits of inclusion, as manifest in Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia, and to recommend policies that encourage repression and autocracy and engender ever more radicalization and extremism. They are not in the business of deliberating and consensually developing policy. They are in the fray to shape policy in accordance with their prejudice against Islam. They seem to want to employ the vast U.S. economic, political and military resources to contain or even eliminate popular Islamic movements. This goal is a natural consequence of the assumption that Islam is anti-West and anti-Israel.
Thus, no matter what changes occur in the nature of world politics, such as the end of the Cold War or the partial success of the peace process, their policy recommendations do not change. This supports the contention that this third dimension is an epistemic community — committed to a particular causal model and its translation into policy. They perhaps even owe their existence as members of the policy community to the goal that they advocate. Their dedication to their cause is unlike any commitment made by academics to their intellectual interests or practitioners to their careers. Practitioners move on to manage other regions, academics grow in their interests and even shift paradigms to adjust to new developments, to "new and interesting" phenomena. But the policy entrepreneurs remain committed to their holy war.
THE POLEMICS OF POLICY
A second and more unpleasant aspect of the policy entrepreneurs' discourse is their use of polemics. This is manifest in their polemical attacks on the academy. In three recent articles, Daniel Pipes and Norvelle De Atkine have launched an attack on the credentials of the scholars who study the Middle East.69 They accuse the scholars of giving bad advice70 while simultaneously purporting to explain why Middle Eastern scholars have little or no influence on the policy-making process. They level the following arguments against Middle East scholars:71
1.Academics are overspecialized, using complicated postmodern categories in writing long, unintelligible papers.
2.The academy is riven by factional infighting having more to do with each other's political leanings than ideas.
3.Scholars are leftist, antiAmerican.
4.Scholars overemphasize the Arab-Israeli conflict.
5.Since most of the scholars are Middle Eastern in origin, they are anti-American, anti-Israel and sympathetic towards Islamism.
6.Scholars are countercultural apologists for Islamism.
As to the first accusation (that scholarship is getting increasingly arcane), I agree that scholars who wish to influence policy should write clearly and concisely. Indeed many scholars try their best to accommodate the reading needs of practitioners without compromising conceptual rigor. However, practitioners too must occasionally refurbish their intellectual capital and acquaint themselves with advancements in analytical techniques. Failure to do so inhibits their ability to absorb the knowledge being produced in the academy and will constrain their ability to communicate with younger practitioners fresh out of the academy and conversant with new conceptual tools and theories.
The rest of De Atkine's and Pipes's charges are designed to simultaneously explain the failure of the academy as well as further reduce its influence on the policy process. In essence, they are accusing the academy of harboring interests that are antithetical to American and Israeli interests. In their analysis American and Israeli interests seem to lose their distinctness and merge. Ironically, they accuse the academy of factional infighting while indulge in it themselves, attacking scholars rather than limiting their criticism to substantive arguments.
I will not address every allegation. It will suffice to point out some glaring inconsistencies. They contend that academics have no influence on the policy process. However, the analysis of the policy terrain in this paper provides strong evidence that indeed the practitioners and academics are systematically converging on what the policy should be, the only problem area being the degree of implementation of the espoused policies. Policy entrepreneurs also attack academics for giving bad advice to the government. But since that advice is far from their own prescriptions, they are questioning the loyalty and cultural/national origins of the academics, in order to discredit them.
The policy entrepreneurs accuse the academics of being apologists for Islamism because many of them are from the Middle East, but they accuse the following scholars specifically; John Alden Williams, Lisa Anderson, John Voll and John Esposito,72 all of them Americans. Similarly, they advance an extended appreciation of the Middle Eastern scholar, Faoud Ajami, and condemn the academy for criticizing him and his association with American Jews.73 As long as a scholar's analysis agrees with their own, origins become unimportant, but disagreement provokes an ethnic/nationality test.74
Thus, the use of polemics is either strategic or coincidental. In the latter case, it is merely a reflection of frustration. After a decade of activism, Pipes and his colleagues continue to see Islamic resurgence thrive and even expand, while America refrains from launching a new Crusade against it. If the polemics is strategic, then it becomes more pernicious, as well as (academically) interesting.
A POLICY OF POLEMICS
Michel Foucault, the French post-structuralist, meticulously demonstrated the intertwined nature of power and knowledge.75 The relationship of knowledge and power to policy is self-evident. Knowledge is translated into foreign policy, and this policy determines the use of power. In the American case, the stakes are very high. Those who control the production of knowledge (exercise epistemic sovereignty) determine the use of American economic, political and military resources. Thus knowledge is empowering. However, power also produces knowledge, since knowledge can be instrumental. Thus in order to be knowledgeable, one has to be powerful, but, paradoxically, only the powerful have knowledge.
The academy is accused of producing knowledge that is tainted with anti-Americanism, personal biases and unintelligible jargon. This is supposed to explain its lack of influence over the policy process. The failure of the academy to produce "instrumental knowledge," — knowledge that will enable America and Israel to maintain the status quo in the Middle East — has marginalized it and denied it access to American power. Therefore, since what the academy produces does not empower them, it is not knowledge but arcane gibberish. The relationship between instrumental knowledge and power thus becomes clearer.
Instrumental knowledge also serves the purpose of legitimizing existing "interests" and justifying the continuation of the status quo. Knowledge should serve power. When it challenges power by recommending change over continuity, it becomes ideology. Thus, again, a paradox is created by the inextricable link between power and knowledge. Knowledge that does not serve power becomes ideology, and ideology that serves power becomes knowledge. It is therefore in disfavor. Whereas, there is an epistemic community committed to producing ideology, which legitimizes the status quo and serves the interests of power, thereby empowering itself. This is the essence of policy entrepreneurship.
But if the academy were to produce knowledge that is seen as "useful," the kind which will serve American interests and nourish its power, then it would enhance its influence on the policy process and become empowered by increasing its access to power. I have argued that a gradual convergence is occurring between academics and practitioners on Islamic resurgence and U.S. policy towards it. This convergence is primarily due to the longevity of the issue, allowing the practitioners many opportunities to realize the wisdom behind the researched and deliberated policy recommendations of the academy.76 This convergence will necessarily involve a loss of power for the policy entrepreneurs as knowledge begins to replace ideology. Such a convergence, in my opinion, is possible only in issue areas that have a long shelf life, allowing knowledge to systematically erode the power of ideology.
This gradual displacement of ideology by knowledge entails a shift in power from the epistemic community to the academy. It is this power shift that has precipitated the polemical attack by the policy entrepreneurs against the academy. We are witnessing a struggle for sovereignty between the academy and the entrepreneurs. The struggle is for the power to determine the "truth." For the privilege of shaping policy and gaining access to real power. The academy has a track record in research as its resource, and the policy entrepreneurs have one in defending the status quo.77
The sense that the academy is gaining power has, I believe, compelled the policy entrepreneurs to launch their attack, not on substance, but on the academy's credentials and loyalty, commitment to America, its allies and its interests. They are declaring to the practitioner that the academy will not produce ideology to serve the interests of power. It is also an attempt to constrain scholars by strongly reprimanding them for attempting to institute change rather than sustain continuity. This polemics of policy is fundamentally a strategy, not a coincidence.
Critics will be tempted to suggest that perhaps the academy is also now in the business of policy entrepreneurship to save itself from being marginalized. However, "consensual knowledge," knowledge that minimizes the domination of ideological interests, is still the forte of the academy. Academics' primary interest in any issue begins with intellectual curiosity. They study political phenomena in order to understand and explain them and often without any predisposition for a given outcome (policy). Room for learning exists in their approach opens up possibilities for dialogue and understanding. This is not to say that academia is impervious to the influence of power or that it is completely free of ideology. Most policy entrepreneurs are products of the academy, after all. Nevertheless, as long as consensual knowledge, is appreciated, the academy will be important. The problem remains, not simply to bridge a gap, but to achieve a "consensual understanding" among the government, the academy and the policy entrepreneurs.
* I would Like to thank Andy Bennett for his useful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts, and particularly my father, A.H. Khanm whose committment to my education goes way beyond the call of duty.
1Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic Books, 1983), p. 287.
2John Esposito, "Islamic Revivalism," Occasional paper (Washington, DC: The Middle East Institute, 1985), p. 14.
3Robert H. Pelletreau, Jr.; Daniel Pipes; John L. Esposito," Symposium: Resurgent Islam in the Middle East," Middle East Policy, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1994), p. 21.
4David D. Newsom, "Foreign Policy and Academia," Foreign Policy, No. 101 (Winter 1995-96), p. 54.
5John Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992); M.A. Muqtedar Khan, "Global Islam," The Message (October 1995); Judith Miller, "The Challenge of Radical Islam," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1993), pp. 43-56; Zachary Karabell, "The Wrong Threat: The United States and Islamic Fundamentalism," World Policy Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer 1995), pp. 37-48; John Esposito, "Political Islam: Beyond the Green Menace," Current History (January 1994), pp. 149-54. See also Elaine Sciolino, "The Red Menace Is Gone, But Here Is Islam," The New York Times (January 21, 1996).
6For a review of Elaine Sciolino's perspectives, see M.A. Muqtedar Khan, "U.S. Views on Islam," Middle East Insight (May-August 1996), pp. 3-5.
7Alexander George, "The Two Cultures of Academia and Policy-Making: Bridging the Gap," Political Psychology, Vol. 15, No. 1, (1994), pp. 143-72. Also see George, Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice of Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: The United States Institute of Peace, 1993).
8Ibid., p. 146.
9Ibid., p. 147.
10Ibid., pp. 146-47, 149.
11Newsom, "Foreign Policy and Academia," p. 55.
12Ibid., pp. 52-56.
13Ibid., pp. 52-67. Also see George, "The Two Cultures," pp. 143-72.
14Gary Sick, currently at Columbia University, was in President Carter's National Security Council. See his "The United States and Iran: Truth and Consequences," Contention, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Winter 1996), p. 59.
15Norvell B. De Atkine, "Middle East Scholars Strike Out in Washington," Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4, (December 1994), p. 3.
16Ibid., pp. 3-12.
17Daniel Pipes, "There Are No Moderates: Dealing with Fundamentalist Islam," The National Interest, No. 41 (Fall 1995), pp. 48-57; Benjamin Gordon, "Islam: Washington's New Dilemma," Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1 (March 1996), pp. 42-51; Zachary Karabell, "The Wrong Threat," pp. 37-48; Esposito, "Beyond the Green Menace," pp. 149-54. See also John Esposito, "Political Islam and American Foreign Policy," Brown Journal of Foreign Affairs (1994), and Sciolino, "The Red Menace Is Gone."
18De Atkine, "Middle East Scholars"; De Atkine and Pipes, "Middle Eastern Studies: What Went Wrong?" Academic Questions, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Winter 1995-96), pp. 60-74. See also Sick, "The United States and Iran," and Pipes, "There Are no Moderates," pp. 53-57.
19Rashid Khalidi, "Letter from the President," MESA Newsletter (February 1994), p. 1.
20Sick, "The United States and Iran," pp. 59-61.
21M.A. Muqtedar Khan, "American Foreign Policy and Islamic Resurgence: The Establishment's Perspective," Islamic Horizons (August 1996).
22Pelletreau et al., "Symposium," pp. 1-4.
23Ibid., p. 1. See also Robert Pelletreau, "Recent Developments in the Middle East," The Department of State Dispatch 5 (1994), and Pelletreau, "Islam and U.S. Policy," U.S. Department of State (May 26, 1996).
24Pelletreau et al., p. 2.
25Ibid., pp. 2-3. These points are direct quotations from Ambassador Pelletreau's presentation.
26For a review of the chaotic character of American foreign-policy making, see John Ikenberry, American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays (New York: HarperCollins, 1989). See Jerel Rosati, The Politics of United States Foreign Policy (New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1993); James Nathan and James Oliver, Foreign-Policy Making and the American Political System (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), and Charles Kegley and Eugene Wittkoph, American Foreign Policy: Pattern and Process (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991).
27Esposito, The Islamic Threat, pp. 241-53; Fred Halliday, Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (London: I.B. Tauris, 1995), pp. 107-32; and Jochen Hippler, "The Islamic Threat and Western Foreign Policy," in Jochen Hippler and Andrea Leug (eds.), The Next Threat: Western Perceptions of Islam (London: Pluto Press, 1995), pp. 116-50.
28Pelletreau et al., p. 2.
29Ibid., p. 11.
30See also Karabell, "The Wrong Threat," pp. 39, 43; Esposito, "Political Islam and American Foreign Policy;" and Arthur L. Lowrie, "The Campaign Against Islam and American Foreign Policy," Middle East Policy, Vol. 4, No. 1&2 (September 1995), pp. 210-219.
31Karabell, p. 54.
32De Atkine, "Middle East Scholars," pp. 3-8; and Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," pp. 53-54.
33Pelletreau et al., pp. 1-21.
34Ibid, p. 14.
35Esposito, The Islamic Threat, p. 7.
36Ibid., pp. 168-88; Karabell, "The Wrong Threat"; Khan, "Islam and the Discourse of International Relations," paper presented at the International Studies Association, Chicago (February 1995); and Graham Fuller and Ian Lesser, A Sense of Siege: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), p. 2.
37Pelletreau et al., pp. 8-12. Also note Michael Collins Dunn's comments at that symposium.
38See "There Are Islamic Moderates," M.A. Muqtedar Khan in conversation with Ambassador Pelletreau, Middle East Insight (May-August, 1996), pp. 3-5.
39Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994). See also John Esposito and John Voll, Islam and Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996); and Mahmood Monshipuri and Christopher Kukla, "Islam, Democracy and Human Rights: the Continuing Debate in the West," Middle East Policy, Vol. III, No. 2, 1994.
40Esposito and Voll, Islam and Democracy.
41This position was advanced by Esposito in The Islamic Threat, p. 245.
42Newsom, "Foreign Policy and Academia," pp. 54-55.
43Ibid., pp. 52-67. See also George, "The Two Cultures," pp. 143-72.
44See Pelletreau et al., pp. 5-8. See also Daniel Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," and "The Muslims Are Coming! The Muslims Are Coming!" The National Review, No. 42 (November 1990), pp. 28-31 and "Fundamentalist Muslims," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 64, No. 5 (Summer 1986), pp. 939-959.
45In support of this contention, Pipes advances a statement by the late Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin; see "There Are No Moderates," p 56. See also Judith Miller, "The Challenge of Radical Islam."
46Peter Rodman, "Co-opt or Confront Fundamentalist Islam?" Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4(December 1994), pp. 61-64. See Pelletreau et al., p. 6., and Pipes, "Fundamentalist Muslims," pp. 951-52.
47Pipes, "Fundamentalist Muslims," p. 951.
48Bernard Lewis, The Shaping of the Midern Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 99-124.
49Pelletreau et al, p. 5.
50Pipes, "The Muslims Are Coming!" Also see Bernard Lewis, "Roots of Muslim Rage," The Atlantic (September 1990), pp. 47-54; Lewis, Islam and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); and Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (New York: Basic books, 1983), pp. 97-113.
51Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," pp. 49 and 54. See also Pelletreau et al., p. 6.
52Reminiscent of the Hollywood theme in Oliver Stone's movie Natural Born Killers.
53I use the term "epistemic community" as defined by Ernst B. Haas in When Knowledge Is Power: Three Models of Change in International Organizations (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), p. 41.
54For a survey of the role of religious resurgence in international relations, see Scott Thomas, "The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Study of World Politics," Millenium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Summer 1995), pp. 289-300.
55Leon Hadar, "What Green Peril?" Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 2 (Spring 1993), p. 31.
56Pelletreau et al., p. 12.
57Rodman, "Co-opt or Confront?" pp. 61-64; Pelletreau et al., pp. 5-8; Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," pp. 55-57; Miller, "The Challenge of Radical Islam," pp. 44-47.
58Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," pp.55-56.
59This extreme formula was advanced by Pipes, who describes terrorists he likes as "less than Jeffersonian organizations." See "There Are No Moderates," p. 57.
60Miller, "The Challenge of Radical Islam," pp. 54-55.
61Ibid., pp. 51-54; see also Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," p. 57.
62Pelletreau et al., p. 8.
63For a more balanced analysis, see Fuller and Lesser, pp. 39-43; 110-113.
64Lewis, "Roots of Muslim Rage" and Pipes, "Fundamentalist Muslims."
65Rodman, "Co-opt or Confront?" p. 64; Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," p. 49.
66While there are those who doubt Iran's democratic credentials, it is more democratic now than under the shah. Even Pipes concedes that "once in charge, he [Ayatollah Khomeini] partially fulfilled his pledge [to restore democracy]: Iran's elections are hotly disputed, and parliament does have real authority" ("There Are No Moderates," p. 49).
67See Esposito and Voll, Islam and Democracy, for an opposite conclusion.
68For an analysis of how modernity and Islam are not mutually exclusive, see Mohommed A. Muqtedar Khan, "Sovereignty in Modernity and Islam," East-West Review, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 1995), pp. 43-57, and "Dialogue of Civilizations?" The Diplomat (June 1997).
69De Atkine, "Middle East Scholars"; De Atkine and Pipes, "Middle Eastern Studies." See also Pipes, "There Are No Moderates."
70Pipes, "There Are No Moderates," p. 53.
71See De Atkine, "Middle East Scholars," and De Atkine and Pipes, "Middle Eastern Studies."
72De Atkine and Pipes, "Middle Eastern Studies," p. 65.
73De Atkine, "Middle Eastern Scholars," p. 5.
74But when "the usually sensible Ajami" makes an assertion that challenges their own contentions, a rare faux pas, Pipes immediately clubs him with the rest of the academics who are giving bad advice to the administration. See "There Are No Moderates," p. 53.
75Joseph Rouse, "Power and Knowledge," in Gary Gutting (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 92-114. Also see Barry Hindness, Discourses of Power: From Hobbes to Foucault (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1996); and Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison (New York, Vintage Books, 1979).
76See Khan, "U.S. Views on Islam," pp. 3-5.
77See Khan, "American Foreign Policy and Islamic Resurgence."