Augustus Richard Norton, Middle East expert (#323)
Augustus Richard Norton, professor of international relations and anthropology at Boston University and author of several books on the Middle East, discusses the challenges facing that troubled region.
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Norton’s research experience in the Middle East spans nearly three decades, including residences in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon. When he first visited Lebanon, he explains, Shi’a Muslims were just beginning to organize. Hezbollah, now a powerful political party and paramilitary organization in Lebanon, did not emerge until the 1980s, during the country’s bloody 15-year civil war.
In his book Hezbollah, Norton discusses the roots of the group’s popularity in Lebanon, including its ability to identify itself as a resistance movement rather than a terrorist organization. He talks with Goodman about Lebanon’s relationship with more powerful countries like Iran and the U.S. and describes Lebanon’s fragmented political system, comparing it with the political landscape of his current home, Egypt.
Norton also offers some advice for the next U.S. presidential administration, suggesting that America must adopt an aggressive diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, working with both friends and enemies.