Robert Leiken

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Mr. Leiken is a Harvard graduate and longtime expert on Latin America who broke with the hard left in the 1980s to oppose the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and who became associated with Social Democrats such as Penn Kemble and Joshua Muravchik.[1]
In October 1984 Leiken (rhymes with bacon) published an article in the New Republic titled "Nicaragua's Untold Stories." It was a searing indictment of the Managua regime that accused the Sandinistas of repression, corruption, political manipulation and fealty to Moscow.
The idea that a well-respected liberal analyst would launch such a strong attack on the Sandinistas caused considerable stir in Washington. Leiken's apparent conversion was seen by the entrenched left as a betrayal and by Reaganites as a vindication of their long-held views. Most important, many Democrats who had relied on Leiken's analyses began to reconsider their Sandinista sympathies. Senator Edward Kennedy had the article read into the Congressional Record. Suddenly, Leiken became as controversial as Nicaragua itself.[2]

Leiken chaired a panel on Europe, the Left and Anti-Americanism at a conference organised by the Social Democrats USA in May 2003:

A central question for our next panel might be summarized this way: what role did the European left play in encouraging the strident attacks on the United States that have been mounted in Europe and elsewhere over the past year or so?
A second issue might this: In the years following World War II, when Stalin's army was in Eastern Europe and Stalinist parties seemed on the verge of coming to power in Western Europe, American and European intellectuals and sections of the labor movement rallied to found such institutions as the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Encounter magazine. Is such a grouping conceivable today? [3]

In 2005, Leiken wrote a Foreign Affairs article entitled Europe's Angry Muslims:

the fissure between liberalism and multiculturalism is opening just as the continent undergoes its most momentous population shift since Asian tribes pushed westward in the first Christian millennium. Immigration obviously hits a national security nerve, but it also raises economic and demographic questions: how to cope with a demonstrably aging population; how to maintain social cohesion as Christianity declines and both secularism and Islam climb; whether the EU should exercise sovereignty over borders and citizenship; and what the accession of Turkey, with its 70 million Muslims, would mean for the EU. Moreover, European mujahideen do not threaten only the Old World; they also pose an immediate danger to the United States.[4]

In June 2007 Leiken presented a paper arguing for engagement with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at a meeting organised by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.[5]



  1. weighs reaching out to 'brothers', by Eli Lake, New York Sun, 20 June 2007.
  2. Nicaragua Conversion of a Timely Kind, by Jill Smolowe, Time magazine, 21 April 1986.
  3. [May 17 Institute Transcript], Social Democrats USA, accessed 18 May 2008.
  4. Europe's Angry Muslims, by Robert S. Leiken, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2005.
  5. weighs reaching out to 'brothers', by Eli Lake, New York Sun, 20 June 2007.