Mid East through lens of history

To the editor:

Two thoughts re the Middle East crisis, each deserving of some thought by this newspaper’s discerning readers :

First, why is no one in government talking about the late, great Lawrence of Arabia’s plans for one Arabia, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea? Lawrence’s plan was presented at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I, but ignored by the Great Powers. The latter opted instead to create a series of dysfunctional states, split by religions and jealousies and led by weak rulers chosen by the Great Powers, so that the Great Powers could continue to control the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. See e.g. Michael Korda, Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (2011) for a succinct exposition of this theme.

Second, the great Catholic-Protestant wars endured by the Christian religion since the 16th century never saw Middle Eastern religious zealots supplying weapons or warriors to one side or the other. Should this non-involvement be a precedent that we should examine? Why exactly are we contemplating getting into a religious war, when we apparently have no plans to colonize the wreckage?

Russell Bastedo


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