The Cold War’s Arab Spring

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An absolutely fascinating article by Claire Berlinski is posted at TabletMag.com with the following title:

The Cold War’s Arab Spring: Stolen Kremlin records show how the Soviets, including Gorbachev, created many of today’s Middle East conflicts

It’s always fun when the facts come out, and so often those who blame the West for everything are proven wrong. Here’s the opening of the piece:

The dominant narrative of modern Middle East history emphasizes the depredations visited upon the region by European colonization and accepts as a truism that the former colonial powers prioritized the protection of their material interests—in oil, above all—above the dignity and self-determination of the region’s inhabitants. Thus did botched decolonization result in endless instability. The most intractable of the regional conflicts to which this gave rise, that between the Arabs and Israelis, is attributed in this narrative to Israel’s unwillingness to accede to Palestinian national aspirations. Thus did the region become a breeding ground for radicalism, intensified by Cold War rivalry between the superpowers, who replaced the European colonizers as the region’s meddling overlords. Then came Mikhail Gorbachev—a Westernizing reformer. At last, the Cold War was over. A new world order was at hand.

What if this conventional wisdom is nonsense? Russian exile Pavel Stroilov argues just this in his forthcoming book, Behind the Desert Storm. “Not a word of it is true,” he writes. “It was the Soviet Empire—not the British Empire—that was responsible for the instability in the Middle East.”

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It’s a long article but worth the time.

 

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