The sources of Middle East extremism are profoundly complex and intertwined, composed of economic, social, political, and cultural dimensions. As important as the socioeconomic and political aspects of the present crisis are, however, the cultural difficulties are equally challenging, perhaps uniquely so. How can the United States reduce the appeal of the utopian fanatics? It should approach the problem with considerable humility. Take the economic crisis. A strong case can be made that the economies of the Middle East have failed because of institutional and political deficiencies. Outsiders can do very little to promote institutional change, as the United States learned to its dismay in Russia and elsewhere. The deep cultural crisis of contemporary Islam's confrontation with modernity can be resolved only by Muslims.
|Publisher:||Naval War College (U.S.)|
|Source:||Naval War College Review (Autumn 2002), v.55 no.4, p.22-38|