05.13.2011 1

Uncommon Knowledge: Michael Totten

A foreign correspondent and foreign policy analyst, Michael Totten has reported from the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus; he writes regularly for Commentary magazine and Pajamas Media. His new book is The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah and the Iranian War against Israel.

“Lebanon in 2005, during the revolution against the Syrian military occupation in the country, looked and felt like an Arab version of Berlin in 1989 . . . as it turns out, it was more like Budapest in 1956,” says Totten. He goes on to explain what went terribly wrong in Lebanon, once known as the Switzerland of the Mideast, beginning with its descent into chaos in the mid-’70s. He details Hezbollah’s hold over Lebanon and the threat it poses to Israel. What is the solution in the Middle East? “Nobody has . . . nobody proposes a solution. Nobody even believes there is a solution. The very question is American.”

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