To what extent is it correct to see 9/11 and contemporary Islamism as the newest incidents in a permanent struggle between Islam and the West? Are these two cultures—the West and Islam—fundamentally and permanently incompatible? Hill and Ajami answer these questions in light of Islamic history and evaluate US policy in the Arab world – past and present. Which deserves more credit for the “Arab spring?” President Bush’s “freedom agenda” or President Obama’s “Cairo reset?” What should US policy be to prevent the Arab Spring from being hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists?
Of Persian descent, Fouad Ajami was raised in Lebanon and came to the United States at age eighteen. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the winner of this year’s Breindel Journalism Award.
During his career at the State Department, Ambassador Charles Hill served as an adviser to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. Hill is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the diplomat-in-residence at Yale University. He is the author, most recently, of Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism.
Fouad Ajami is the Majid Khadduri professor and director of Middle East Studies at the School for Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, a position he has held since 1980. He has been since 1989 a contributing editor of U.S. News & World Report for which he has written on American foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics and contemporary history, and he is a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs for CBS News.
Mr. Ajami is the author of numerous books including: The Arab Predicament, The Vanished Imam, Beirut: The City of Regrets, and The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation's Odyssey. He was awarded the five-year MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1982 for his work on Middle Eastern politics and culture. He is a member of the board of advisers of Foreign Affairs.
Charles Hill, a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and cochair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.
He was executive aide to former U.S. secretary of state George P. Shultz (1983-89) and served as special consultant on policy to the secretary-general of the United Nations from 1992 to 1996. Hill is also the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy at Yale University. His most recent book is Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order (Yale Press, 2010).
Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits the Hoover Institution's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, "Uncommon Knowledge."
Robinson is also the author of three books: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life; It's My Party: A Republican's Messy Love Affair with the GOP; and the best-selling business book Snapshots from Hell: The Making of an MBA.