This (history of creating an academic branch known as Sovietology) leaves an important lesson for today. Instead of lurching from one perceived threat to the next, U.S. policymakers should make a deep investment in knowing the whole world. It is not only necessary to understand the mechanics and tactics of terrorists but also the cultures, religions, and political systems that house – and, in some cases, spawn — such threats. Such breadth is all the more important in studying the Muslim world, which stretches across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
A timely piece from Foreign Affairs here.