Speaker: Jeffrey G. Karam, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, International Security Program

Under what conditions do intelligence officials and diplomats make accurate assessments of domestic developments, such as revolutions or military coups, in foreign states? "Agents of Empire" is the first interdisciplinary study that examines U.S. intelligence failures and successes in the Middle East during the Cold War. Specifically, it focuses on one of the most critical junctures during the Arab Cold War in 1958, by considering street-level interactions between U.S. officials and their human sources in the field, as well as interactions between lower and upper levels of intelligence and diplomacy in Washington, London, and different Middle Eastern capitals. "Agents of Empire" draws on recently declassified and untapped U.S. and British intelligence records, diplomatic cables, and memoranda of conversations, primary and secondary source evidence in Arabic and French from the Middle East, interviews with Arab officials and U.S. Foreign Service Officers, and memoirs. In contrast to existing scholarship on U.S. Foreign Relations, it argues that looking through the lens of intelligence provides a novel and understudied feature of the foundations of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East at the beginning of the Cold War. "Agents of Empire" also argues for the importance of viewing both intelligence and foreign policy as intertwined aspects of the political history of U.S. intervention in the Middle East during the Cold War and beyond.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.