Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

With this issue the Middle East Journal enters its fiftieth year. It is the oldest and most prestigious journal on the contemporary Middle East of its kind. It has covered all the major regional events of the second half of this century: from the emancipation of old nations, to the creation of new states, from the overthrow of traditional political systems, to the emergence of modern dictatorships. Through expert lenses it has observed and analyzed the economic, political, and social transformations of the region; delved into the causes of war and reflected on the dividends of peace; scrutinized the policies of political leaders and questioned their behavior; and listened to the voices of the disenfranchised and described their plight.

Through it all the Journal has maintained an unflinching objectivity, a balance on issues that have aroused passions and provoked heated debate. From the onset it chose to allow for different perspectives and interpretations to enlighten and inform, not to convert. However different those views, the Journal always expected them to be expressed with perspicuity and grace and in a spirit of tolerance. That is not to say that the Journal ever hesitated to tackle the controversial or the thought-provoking when backed by incisive argument and sound scholarship. Ideas and approaches that appeared unconventional at first, often became, at a later stage, part of the debate on issues of great importance to the region.

To celebrate this fiftieth year of the publication of the Middle East Journal, each of the four issues of this 1996 volume will have a leading essay on a different topic that will look at regional developments in the past half century and draw some lessons for the future. Starting with this issue, William B. Quandt of the University of Virginia paints in sweeping strokes a picture of Middle East regimes that have been unsuccessful in significantly developing the region politically, economically, or socially. …

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