Juan Cole, author of Engaging the Muslim World, discusses the origin and meaning of the Taliban, the conflicting messages Obama and the U.S. military give on why staying in Afghanistan is a good idea, the benefits of an “Egypt solution” billion dollar yearly payoff to stabilize and allow withdraw from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s low popular support and territorial control.
MP3 here. (30:17)
Juan R. I. Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context. His most recent book is Engaging the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan, March, 2009) and he also recently authored Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). He has been a regular guest on PBS’s Lehrer News Hour, and has also appeared on ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Democracy Now! and many others. He has also given many radio and press interviews. He has written extensively about Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and South Asia. He has commented extensively on the Iraq War, the politics of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the increasing conflict with Iran. He has a regular column at Salon.com. He continues to study and write about contemporary Islamic movements, whether mainstream or radical, whether Sunni and Salafi or Shi`ite. Cole commands Arabic, Persian and Urdu and reads some Turkish, knows both Middle Eastern and South Asian Islam. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years, and continues to travel widely there. A bibliography of his writings may be found here.