Article Code : 139503091134385001996

Article Title : American Policy Institutions and Islam: The Case of RAND and Brookings

Journal Number : 21 Spring 2015

Visited : 366

Files : 344 KB

List of Authors

  Full Name Email Grade Degree Corresponding Author
1 Mohammad A. Mousavi Assistant Professor PhD
2 Hakimeh Saghaye-Biria - -


The present article is a constructivist framing analysis of the RAND and Brookings production of expertise on U.S. policy toward Islam. While the duality of moderation vs. radicalism is present in the narrative of both think tanks, their divergent construction of the meaning of these concepts results in the creation of two distinct frames. For RAND, the U.S. government needs to take side in the war of ideas “within Islam,” actively engaging in “religion-building” by promoting the creation of localized moderate, modernist forms of Islam and building networks of moderate Muslims. A Cold-War-driven modernization mentality is at the heart of such understanding of U.S. relations with Islam and the Islamic world. For Brookings, though, a more pragmatic construction of Muslim politics renders the “Islamist dilemma” obsolete and necessitates U.S. government engagement with moderate Islamists. Brookings advises the U.S. government to forego efforts at converting Islamists into post-Islamists or liberal Islamists and rather opt for efforts to engage those Islamists who are found to be committed to the democratic process and to reject a resort to violence. Despite their differences, what binds the framing of RAND and Brookings together is their rejection of the political Islam that threatens the hegemony of the United States and Israel in the region, i.e. that of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its affiliate resistance Islamic groups.