What if?????

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Crabtownboy, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    PART OF THE enduring fascination with T. E. Lawrence’s story is the series of painful “what if?” questions it raises, a pondering over what the world lost when he lost. What would have happened if, in 1918, the Arabs had been able to create the greater Arab nation that many so desperately sought, and which they believed had been promised them? How different would the Middle East look today if the early Zionists in postwar Palestine had been able to negotiate with a man like Faisal Hussein, who had talked of “the racial kinship and ancient bonds” that existed between Jew and Arab? And what of the Americans? Today, it scarcely seems conceivable that there was a time when the Arab and Muslim worlds were clamoring for American intervention in their lands; what might have happened if the United States had risen to the opportunity presented at the end of World War I?

    Anderson, Scott (2013-08-06). Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Ala Notable Books for Adults) (Kindle Locations 10002-10008). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
     
  2. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    What of the Future of the Mid-East

    Certainly, blame for all this doesn’t rest solely with the terrible decisions that were made at the end of World War I, but it was then that one particularly toxic seed was planted. Ever since, Arab society has tended to define itself less by what it aspires to become than by what it is opposed to: colonialism, Zionism, Western imperialism in its many forms. This culture of opposition has been manipulated— indeed, feverishly nurtured— by generations of Arab dictators intent on channeling their people’s anger away from their own misrule in favor of the external threat, whether it is “the great Satan” or the “illegitimate Zionist entity” or Western music playing on the streets of Cairo. In an ironic and unforeseen way, that era now appears to be coming to an end. Beginning with the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, but greatly accelerated by the so-called Arab Spring movements that have roiled the region since 2010, the established order has steadily eroded before the force of the “Arab street.” Thus far, though, that “street” has shown little sign of coalescing around any notion of Arab unity, let alone the old dream of a greater Arab nation, but very much the opposite: a reversion to the balkanized patchwork of ethnic and religious enclaves that existed under the Ottoman millet system. While no American government official will publicly admit it, Iraq today has largely devolved into three mini-states, divided along those sectarian and ethnic lines— Kurdish, Shia and Sunni— that predated the Western imperial mapmakers. With the overthrow of Muamar Qaddafi, Libya, too, is rapidly becoming a nation in name only, separating into the three principal tribal regions that existed even before the Ottomans. With the brutal civil war in Syria now entering its fourth year, there is open talk of further disintegration there, of the ruling Alawite minority potentially carving out a mini-nation consisting of their ancestral strongholds along the Mediterranean coast. Today, it appears increasingly clear that one result of the intensifying turmoil across the Middle East will be a redrawing of many of those arbitrary frontiers imposed by the West nearly a century ago; whether the new lines foster greater harmony or even greater fractiousness, however, is anyone’s guess.

    Anderson, Scott (2013-08-06). Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Ala Notable Books for Adults) (Kindle Locations 10087-10103). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
     

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