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The End of Modern History in the Middle East

With the ending of global strategic confrontation between superpowers, those in the Middle East must adjust to a new reality: to accept final responsibility for their own affairs, to make and recognize their mistakes, and to accept the consequences. In The End of Modern History in the Middle East, Bernard Lewis discusses the future of the region in this new, postimperialist era. For each and every country and for the region as a whole, he explains, there is a range of alternative futures: at one end, cooperation and progress; at the other, a vicious circle of poverty and ignorance. The author examines in detail the issues most critical to the region's future. He describes oil as the current, most important export to the outside world from the Middle East but warns that technology will eventually make it obsolete, leaving those who depend solely on oil revenues with a bleak future. The three factors that could most help transform the Middle East, according to Lewis, are Turkey, Israel, and women. He also argues that there is enough in the traditional culture of Islam on the one hand and the modern experience of the Muslim peoples on the other to provide the basis for an advance toward freedom in the true sense of that word and to achieve the social, cultural, and scientific changes necessary to bring the Middle East into line with the developed countries of both West and East.
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About the Author

Bernard Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University. A widely read expert on the Middle East, he is regarded as one of the West's leading scholars on the region. He has published numerous books; the most recent of which he coauthored with Buntzie Ellis Churchill, Islam: The Religion and the People.


"In time, the advance of science and technology, which made oil first useful and then necessary, will make it obsolete, and replace it with cleaner, cheaper, and more accessible sources of energy. . . . When that happens, those who depend on oil revenues will face a new and bleak reality."--"Oil and Water," pg. 43 "Perhaps the best hope for the region is the gradual if reluctant emancipation of women."--"A Return to Greatness?" pg. 63 "If it continues on its present course, the region, lacking the capacities of India and China on the one side or the technology of Europe and America on the other, will once again be a stake rather than a player in the great game of international politics."--"A Return to Empire?" pg. 57 "Today, increasing numbers of Middle Easterners, disillusioned with past ideals and-in many countries-alienated from their present rulers, are turning their thoughts or their loyalties to one or other of these two ideologies: liberal democracy or Islamic fundamentalism. Each offers a reasoned diagnosis of the ills of the region, and a prescription for its cure."--"Faith and Freedom," pg. 17 "The likeliest-and the best-prospect for the coming years is a cold peace in which Israel might expect minimal cooperation from the political and diplomatic establishment to avoid war."--"War and Peace," pg. 31 "Perhaps the greatest danger that threatens the Middle East is not wars between states but wars within states."--"Center and Periphery," pg. 36

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