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The death of Fouad Ajami prompted me to reread an email he sent me in late 2011 .I had graduated 24 years earlier from Johns Hopkins, where Fouad was my professor, yet had foolishly failed to grasp his meaning.I first met Fouad in September 1985 after arriving at Johns Hopkins. However, it was Ajami's views of America that would come to define him more than anything else.Ajami could never quite stomach someone who had earned recognition thanks to his life in New York, only to build on this through perpetual condemnation of America and its role in the Arab world.While I felt no great sympathy for Arab nationalism, having spent years watching Lebanon laid waste almost as much by inter-Arab mendacity and rivalries as by the destructiveness of its own people, Ajami's narrative of defeat only reflected accurately what I and others had seen all around us. As a chronicler of this desolate reality, Ajami had few peers. Fouad's Arab solidarity seemed to be reimposing itself as dominant against an elusive America he had romanticized, one distancing itself decisively from the world he knew best.
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