Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age by R. Stephen Humphreys

By R. Stephen Humphreys

Heart Easterners at the present time are stuck among thoughts of the previous and annoyed hopes for the longer term. they fight to discover suggestions to crises of monetary stagnation, political gridlock, and cultural identification. In fresh many years Islam has develop into important to this fight, and nearly each factor contains fierce, occasionally violent debates over the function of faith in public existence. R. Stephen Humphreys's new e-book offers a much-needed and considerate research of Islam's position in state-of-the-art heart East. In transparent, available language, he integrates the medieval and smooth background of the zone to teach how the sacred and secular are tightly interwoven in its political and highbrow life.Humphreys discusses the conflicts over strength and assets that have interaction center jap politicians and appears on the significant ideologies that experience formed those conflicts. He specializes in the effect of Islam on public lifestyles and examines Muslim methods of puzzling over the "secular" as opposed to the "religious." What values does Islam placed into play? What demanding situations does it pose to "ordinary" politics? What assets does it deliver to the fight for social justice?Humphreys acknowledges the Western tendency to brush off heart jap politics as an incoherent story of violence and fanaticism, and his e-book is mainly invaluable for its research of the deeper matters in the back of the headlines. those matters comprise the region's obvious lack of ability to conform democratic associations, conflicts rooted within the peace settlements after global battle I, and the unresolved debates over which cultural and ethical values should still force heart jap policy.Between reminiscence and wish reminds us that center Easterners be mindful the earlier in particular methods: the disgrace of the colonial period; the disappointments in view that independence; and the consideration of the center a long time, whilst Muslim achievements have been revered during the international. no matter if those stories are just partly precise, in defining the previous, additionally they outline what the long run should be.

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The 1970s may have been a golden age for the international arms merchant, but the 1980s hardly saw a collapse in the market—even Chap 1 10/8/01 12 4:46 PM Page 12 Hard Realities by 1988, Middle Eastern countries were spending some 9 percent of their GNP on the military, half again as much as the United States at the very climax of the Reagan arms buildup. 1 in the United States). There were certain constraints, to be sure, not least those stemming from the abrupt collapse of oil prices after 1984.

These technologies have few uses and little spin-off in the civilian sector, with the not very convincing exception (for an oilrich state) of nuclear power. Iran might ultimately have developed an arms-manufacturing capacity—certainly the Shah intended to do so—but the revolutionary government quite systematically marginalized the country’s regular armed forces, even in the face of the eight-year war with Iraq. Military service may lead to some enhancement in the quality of the labor force, but in every country apart from Chap 1 10/8/01 14 4:46 PM Page 14 Hard Realities Israel the armies represent large conscript forces possessing only rudimentary levels of training and expertise.

6 When they reach young adulthood, of course, these young people should be highly productive workers, especially if (as is increasingly the case) they are able to complete their secondary or university education. But a huge flow of new workers challenges any country to find jobs for them; only a very dynamic, growth-oriented economy can hope to succeed in this task. The anecdotes with which I opened this chapter suggest that Middle Eastern economies have in fact been unable to provide productive employment for their young people, and now we need to ask why.

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