David C. Engerman writes:
In 1945, the United States faced a dire threat. The rising power of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism in Eastern Europe -- and, soon enough, worldwide -- represented a new enemy that imperiled postwar hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world. The United States was poorly equipped to comprehend, let alone respond to, this emerging global danger. The federal government had few experts who spoke Russian or had a deep knowledge of Russian history and culture; universities were barely better off. The field of Soviet studies emerged as a response and became the catalyst for a network of area studies programs that would soon follow.
Today, the United States faces a similar challenge in understanding the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism. Much like the Soviet Union, militant Islam represents not just an army but an idea -- and one that fights in novel and highly unorthodox ways..More>>