October 26, 2014

THE ERASED BORDERS of the Middle East.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave a wide-ranging and provocative interview to NPR earlier this week. Of particular interest was his recognition that the national borders that were created after World War I are dissolving. . . .

Ya’alon is right. As our own Adam Garfinkle concluded in June about Iraq: “The Iraqi state in its historic territorial configuration is gone—solid gone, and it ain’t coming back.” The region’s other “artificial nation-states” aren’t going to return to the status quo ante bellum either. Whatever comes out of the current war, it won’t look like the old landscape, and we shouldn’t imagine that there are natural nations waiting to be created out of the ethno-tribal-religious anarchy that the Middle East is witnessing.

It’s an area that has never really been stable or peaceful for long, and then only under a peace imposed by an outside party.

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