Of Persian descent, Fouad Ajami was raised in Lebanon and came to the United States at age eighteen. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the winner of this year’s Breindel Journalism Award.

During his career at the State Department, Ambassador Charles Hill served as an adviser to Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. Hill is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the diplomat-in-residence at Yale. He is the author, most recently, of Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism.

To what extent is it correct to see 9/11 and contemporary Islamism as the newest incidents in a permanent struggle between Islam and the West? Are these two cultures—the West and Islam—fundamentally and permanently incompatible? Hill and Ajami answer these questions in light of Islamic history and evaluate US policy in the Arab world — past and present. Which deserves more credit for the “Arab spring?” President Bush’s “freedom agenda” or President Obama’s “Cairo reset?” What should US policy be to prevent the Arab Spring from being highjacked by Islamic fundamentalists?

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