Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

As I noted in the last issue in my reflections on our 60th Anniversary, throughout the history of The Middle East Journal, there has been some debate over the precise mix of academic research and policy-relevant material that should make up each issue. I have always felt that this is in part a false dichotomy: that serious scholarship should inform policy (though too often it does not), and that serious discussions of policy must be fact-based, a product of informed research.

I hope the present issue offers such a mix. That China is a rapidly growing economic power and major consumer of energy is not news to anyone, but the literature on China and the Middle East is still relatively sparse. (Our own Book Review Editor, John Calabrese, has made contributions in this field, by the way.) This issue includes an article by Steve A. Yetiv and Chunlong Lu of Old Dominion University offering an overview and introduction to the subject of "China, Global Energy, and the Middle East," which makes use of Chinese sources as well as those more generally available.

The next article combines historical reflections with the theory of "pre-emptive" war, a timely subject given continuing debate over the war in Iraq and arguments over the West's proper approach to Iran. Professor Ersun N. Kurtulus re-examines the 1967 Arab-Israeli War in light of the theory of pre-emptive war. Unlike an article we published last year by Roland Popp ("Stumbling Decidedly into the Six Day War," MEJ Vol. 60, No. 2 (Spring 2006)), this article does not seek to revise the historical record, but to reinterpret it in terms of theories of pre-emptive war.

Democratization (and its limits) remains a major topic of study in the modern Middle East, and Yemen's 2006 elections (for president and for local councils) saw a credible challenge mounted to the ruling party but nevertheless an overwhelming victory for that party. This issue presents two rather different perspectives on those elections. April Longley, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University, offers us an analysis based on her field research, including numerous footnotes to conversations at qat chews, while Robert D. …

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