Mideast Countries Are Agents of Their Own Destiny

(Wall Street Journal) Neil Rogachevsky - No superpower can fix the Middle East's endemic malaise, writes Efraim Karsh, a longtime professor at King's College London, in The Tail Wags the Dog, his fast-paced history of British, American and Russian involvement in the Middle East since World War I. Karsh argues that foreign powers have had a much more limited impact on regional politics than is assumed. Success stories like the emergence of Turkey as a secular modern state in the 1920s was due to the statecraft of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 was the result of local factors seized upon by local players rather than American diplomacy. Similarly, the sectarian violence currently engulfing the region is, at root, the product of religious and political divisions that foreign powers have sometimes helped contain but have never resolved. At a time when the ills of the Middle East are so often blamed on colonialism, imperialism or "Satans" great or small, the author's perspective is refreshing.

2015-09-25 00:00:00

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