Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's not WW3; it's the end of WW1

These past few years have always felt like the closing chapters of WW 1 to me. The final sorting out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. The French and the Brits originally tasked with League of Nation mandates and now the task has fallen to the United States (which shirked the mission in 1919 for Armenia).

Lee Smith write Things Fall Apart and speculates on what the new middle east might finally look like.
ARABS AND WESTERN ARABISTS typically describe Israel as a European invention stuck right in the center of a region where it does not belong, but this is ignoring the fact that almost half of the Jewish state's population originated not in Europe, or Russia, or even Brooklyn, but in the Middle East. The Jews belong here as much as the other Middle Eastern minorities do, the Christians, Shiites, Alawites, and Kurds. The difference is that many of these minorities, unlike the Jews in Israel, have signed on, willingly or not, to the triumphalist Sunni Arab narrative: We are all Arabs. It seems as though eventually this fiction will collapse and some of these minorities will, like Israel, want their own states.

For decades now "Arabs" in the Middle East have feared Washington's ostensible designs to divide and weaken them. (Despite the obvious fact that America is working hard to see that Iraq, for instance, does not break into three parts.) But a region-wide reshuffling may be in the cards anyway. What might that look like?


Matt said...

I agree with you entirely, Bill. As a former student of 20th Century History, the 'thread' right back to WW1 is very clear. WW1 marked the collapse of the European old orders, but it set off another chain of events that are still being played out now.

I'm currently reading Mark Mazower's "The Dark Continent" and it's a really powerful analysis of Europe's 20th Century. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants an overview, and analysis, of WW1 to the end of the last century.

Bill Baar said...

Expect many more books as we approach 2014 and the centenniel of the start of the war.

It explains so much of where we are today and few know much about it.

Expect that to change though.