Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is a highly regarded expert on Iran’s Green Movement and maintains close ties to opposition groups inside Iran.
Dr. Ledeen’s scholarship on Iraq, terrorism and international security has been sought after by those in and out of government and the intelligence community, the media, and policy influencers — and as a PJ Columnist, he lends this expertise to PJ Media on his blog, “Faster, Please!”
Michael sees himself as an historian, first and foremost:
I got a Ph.D. in modern European history and philosophy at Wisconsin in the sixties, when Wisconsin had the finest History Department in America. I studied with a great historian, George L. Mosse, and I was his research assistant for two books on Nazism. I spent the next fifteen or so years studying fascism, trying to understand “how could it happen?” Then I became a visiting professor at the University of Rome, and Rome correspondent for The New Republic at a time when the big stories were Communism and terrorism. Later on, I started to work on Iran. So my life has been largely spent studying evil.
Using his vast knowledge and extraordinary life experiences, Michael tries to convey the unpredictability of life in his PJ Media column:
Many pundits think that vast, impersonal forces govern the world, and so once you understand those forces — oil, or race, or class, whatever — you can foresee coming events. As an historian, I’ve learned that human behavior is wildly unpredictable. And I don’t believe in those vast forces; I think human beings are the driving force of world events. So I spend a lot of energy trying to understand the key players, but I never permit myself the luxury of believing that I know enough to accurately predict what’s going to happen next.
If you have been reading PJ Media for any period of time, you may be familiar with Michael’s writing. But you probably didn’t know that he used to be a world-class bridge player:
I was on a team that won a national championship a couple of years ago. Back in the old days, when I was really good, I played on a team organized by Omar Sharif. And one of the secrets of my “investigative” career is the number of sources I met at bridge clubs all over the place.