Rashid Khalidi is an American academic of extraordinary ability and sharp insights. He is also deeply committed to stemming violence in the Middle East, promoting a culture that embraces human rights as a fundamental notion, and building democratic societies. In a sense, Khalidi’s formula for solving the Middle East crisis has not been radically different from George W. Bush’s: both believe in American values and approaches. However, whereas Bush believes these values can be introduced in the wake of bombs and at the barrel of a gun, Khalidi disagrees. He sees education and civic activism as the path to success, and he argues that pervasive military interventionism has historically undermined the Middle East and will continue to do so.
Barnett Rubin, who knows Khalidi, is also one of the most intelligent expert commentators on Iran, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, and his site Informed Comment is well worth adding to your daily rounds. Horton’s pretty damn smart too, but reading his blog always makes me feel under-educated, so go there only if you have a less sensitive ego than mine.