With the ending of global strategic confrontation between superpowers, those in the Middle East must adjust to a new reality: to accept final responsibility for their own affairs, to make and recognize their mistakes, and to accept the consequences. In The End of Modern History in the Middle East,
Bernard Lewis discusses the future of the region in this new, postimperialist era. For each and every country and for the region as a whole, he explains, there is a range of alternative futures: at one end, cooperation and progress; at the other, a vicious circle of poverty and ignorance.
The author examines in detail the issues most critical to the region’s future. He describes oil as the current, most important export to the outside world from the Middle East but warns that technology will eventually make it obsolete, leaving those who depend solely on oil revenues with a bleak future. The three factors that could most help transform the Middle East, according to Lewis, are Turkey, Israel, and women.Â He also argues that there is enough in the traditional culture of Islam on the one hand and the modern experience of the Muslim peoples on the other to provide the basis for an advance toward freedom in the true sense of that word and to achieve the social, cultural, and scientific changes necessary to bring the Middle East into line with the developed countries of both West and East.