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Good News, Bad News: Washington Confronts a Changing Middle East

A tenuous Palestinian-Israeli peace and Iraq's occasional military rumblings dominate current American concerns in the Middle East. However, these issues present only a sampling of the questions that confront a region that is still attempting to cope with changing social, political, and economic realities. The Soviet Union's collapse and the end of the oil boom have permanently changed the dynamics of area politics. Michael Hudson, a leading Arabist and a Georgetown University professor of international relations, addresses U.S. policy toward the Middle East in regard to this crucial transitionary period.

In their drive to achieve political stability and military security, Middle East countries have been swept by powerful forces, such as the dual rise of both Islamic political movements and free market doctrines. Hudson's published work focuses on these very factors, which include the unresolved problems he has witnessed personally. He was abruptly forced to end his Fulbright senior fellowship at Sanaa University when civil war erupted in Yemen in 1994.

Hudson is the Seif Ghobash Professor of Arab Studies at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service and served as the director of the university's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. A past president of the Middle East Studies Association, Hudson's research relates to processes of political liberalization, politics in divided societies, Middle East regional security, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. His publications include The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon (1968), Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy (1977), and an edited volume, The Palestinians: New Directions (1990). His current project is a book on political participation in the Middle East.

The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies and the Athenaeum are pleased to present tonight's distinguished guest to the Claremont community.