Our system of federal subsidies to academic programs of area studies–including Middle East studies–is not working. Problems of political bias in the academy aside, our government subsidized area studies programs are simply not doing what they’re supposed to do–creating a pool of potential recruits to jobs in the diplomatic corps, or defense and intelligence agencies. Martin Kramer has the details on the poor performance of the government subsidized academy–and on those who would hide the truth about this failure. While you’re at it, have a look at Kramer’s new quick reaction feature, Sandbox, which is at the bottom of his weblog, and at its own URL. Kramer updates Sandbox with responses to breaking events on the battle for HR 3077–the bill that would reform our system of subsidies to Middle East studies and other area studies programs. But Sandbox is also a great place to go for fascinating tidbits on the Middle East–like Kramer’s quote today from Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the leader of Hamas just dispatched by the Israelis.