March 09, 2010
Political Economy of the Middle East
So a typical cycle for this blogger is to get annoyed by some criticism, write something snarky and mischievous, and then get all Presbyterian about it and feel guilty for having written something snarky and mischievous. I wrote something snarky and mischievous about Dan Drezner yesterday and now feel kinda bad about it because it's really not cricket to write such things. And since I don't really know the guy and can't apologize directly, allow me to both reference what I wrote and honor his particular field of research by recommending a brief reading list on the political economy of the Middle East. (I'm not sure if Drezner would define himself as a political economist, actually, but close enough.) When I was a graduate student at the American University of Beirut, the Department of Political Science there was briefly blessed with two of the finest political economists to have worked on the Middle East in recent memory. The first was then-president of AUB, John Waterbury, and the second was a mentor of mine named Yahya Sadowski. The key thing about both of these guys is that they are both first-class political scientists specializing in political economy who have also spent decades in the Middle East living and researching. This allows them to write with both rigor and intimacy with their subject matter. Accordingly, if you're looking to start some research on the subject, you could do a lot worse than:
Waterbury's (with Richards) A Political Economy of the Middle East: Third Edition
Sadowski's Scuds or Butter?: The Political Economy of Arms Control in the Middle East
Okay, I feel better now for having done that. I'll be gone for a week or so, so allow those books to tide you over. What will I be reading while I'm gone? Why, none other than my main man Hein Goemans! Drink some beer, Hein! The royalty check is in the mail!