Can Putin Survive?
The Lessons of the Soviet Collapse
The Arabs are unhappy with their present condition and want to change it. This is a very general statement, but it expresses the basic fact about the Arab position in the Middle East and in the world today. What exactly are they unhappy about? This is quite difficult to answer. They have specific grievances such as the occupation of Arab territories by Israel since 1967. Underneath, other reasons for Arab discontent can be detected, such as the existence of Israel per se; "colonialist," "Zionist" and "imperialist" pressure and alleged exploitation; internal injustices and divisions which place imposing obstacles in the path of progress toward the ideal of Arab unity; social injustices and lack of progress in reducing them; and economic and social underdevelopment (frequently called by the Arabs themselves takhalluf, i.e. "retardation").
Grave as they are, all these difficulties and complaints are probably in themselves insufficient to convey the full measure of Arab angoisse. Jacques Berque in a remarkable article published in 1958, in the Revue des Études Islamiques, spoke of Arab inquiétude in modern times. He used the Arabic term qalaq to describe it; it means anguish, shakiness, looseness, quelque chose qui n'adhère plus è son contour. He found that just at the moment when the national demand for independence appeared to have been achieved, a whole host of problems suddenly intruded "with the force of a revelation": economic pressures, social realities, the class struggle. But finally, Berque said, the question the Arab intellectuals pose to themselves is about "their own essence."
Since 1958-the year of unity between Egypt and Syria, and the year of the revolution against the monarchy and Nuri Said in Iraq-it has become apparent that Arab political "anguish" can lead to an exacerbated kind of radicalism which contains the seeds of its own deterioration. The danger of a circular process has revealed itself: radical discontent with the political situation as it is can lead to a fixation on goals incapable of attainment. And the ensuing frustration due to unfulfilled aims can lead in turn to the establishment of even more "revolutionary" goals, even less susceptible of attainment.
The Arabs themselves have seen, and still see in large measure, the national demand for independence as the principal goal. It used to be a deeply rooted conviction that the Arabs would be in a radically different position if only all the Arab territories were independent. As nearly all of them achieved independence during the last decades, it became apparent that "economic independence" was also necessary before the Arabs could see themselves as the masters of their fate; on the other hand, their nationalist drive focused obsessively on the unsettled question of Palestine. There is, in their view, an Arab country of Palestine occupied by "Zionism"; it geographically divides the Arab world, and this fact fosters the somewhat simplistic illusion that, if the barrier were removed, Arab unity could be attained with more ease than at present. Or, according to the more "scientific" theory, Israel serves as a strategic foothold for an "imperialism" which is endeavoring to impose its rule on the Arab world and to achieve this by keeping it weak and divided.
Such theories partially conceal the underlying, more emotional factor: as long as Israel exists and proves her strength, the neighboring Arabs feel challenged by this fact and hence insecure. The state of the Jews on their territory has become a symbol of foreign intrusion and domination; its danger is felt as a fact so evident that it requires no further scrutiny. To most Arabs it appears axiomatic that, if it were only possible to remove the Jewish state from their midst, a depressing weight on Arab vitality would be removed, affecting the whole Arab world. They would become more efficient, more modern; their right to live in their own world, as Arabs, would be vindicated and secured; they would be saved for the future.
In the same axiomatic fashion, the reverse thesis is stated even more frequently. "If the Arab world is not capable," Qaddafi of Libya said recently, "of fighting alone against Israel, then Israel will kill all Arabs to the last man." That such sentiments can be accepted unquestioningly in places as far away as Kuwait, Baghdad or Rabat is an indication of the symbolic quality which "Israel" or "Zionism" has acquired in Arab eyes. To the more distant Arabs it has become a name and a symbol for the challenge they feel confronted with and know they have to overcome if they want to survive as a nation. Like any symbol, it represents-and thus partly hides-a reality which cannot be seen and recognized in a more abstract, conceptual, rationally defined and articulated fashion.
A minority of intellectuals have begun to analyze and express the Arab plight through the ideological instruments of Marxist theory. They are not- or not yet?-typical of Arab thought in general, but their way of looking at things is gaining in importance. It is not, however, particularly easy to explain in a Marxist framework the needs and desires of the Arabs or their variations of pre-industrial society. The Russians took that point into consideration around 1964, when they invented the theory of the "direct road to socialism" largely for the use of their Arab friends. This way was said to be open to those nations of the Third World which took a resolutely pro-Soviet stand in foreign affairs, accepted Soviet aid and introduced certain "progressive" measures at home. But to date, that "road" has not proved too successful; most Arab regimes do not seriously intend to follow it, for they suspect that it might lead to dependence on Russia. The recent expulsion of Russian military advisers from Egypt has shown this quite clearly.
Most Arab intellectuals and regimes prefer to work out their own ideology by mixing nationalism with socialism, each in its own way. The classic mixture has been provided by the Ba'th Party. It proclaimed the need for socialism in order to free the Arab masses and, at the same time, to put them under the leadership of the Party. Since the drive toward Arab unity was thought to be inherent in the desires of the masses, and the fulfillment of this desire was considered to have been prevented by the exploiting classes, socialism in all Arab countries would automatically lead to unity. At the same time, progress toward unity would in itself lead to the fall of the exploiting and separatist groups and thus automatically foster socialism. Although the theory has not been verified by political practice so far, it is difficult to disprove, as it is based essentially on an act of faith in the "Arab masses"-always under the leadership of the Ba'th Party.
Nasserism is also a mixture of socialism and pan-Arab nationalism. But it focuses less strictly on the interdependence of the two. In the past it relied more on the appeal of nationalism than on that of socialism in order to gain sympathizers. Recently the movement has split into preponderantly nationalist and preponderantly Socialist groupings in Egypt as well as in the other Arab countries.
The success of nationalism as an ideology and the considerable appeal of nationalism combined with socialism-particularly to intellectuals and army officers-corroborate the important influence on Arab political thought of what is felt as the dangerous pressure of alien imperialism. And of course the reasons for this become clear if one looks at the historical record.
The Arabs had lived to the end of the eighteenth century in a society of their own, profoundly marked, strictly defined and circumscribed by Islam. It was somewhat stagnant in the last few centuries but still harmonious, granting to everyone his place. On the whole, the Muslims had accepted their community as given by God-at least in its laws and its ideal configuration; in theory, if not always in practice, it appeared to them as the best possible one. This state of self-centered partial stagnation was rudely disturbed by the armed intrusion of Europe, beginning with the Russian and Austrian pressure on Turkey and the Napoleonic expedition to Egypt. The intrusion ended with a nearly complete occupation of all Arab lands by Christian Europeans.
In the course of the long and complex encounter with Europe, it became clear that Arab armies capable of defending the Arab countries against outside pressure could only be built up if the Arabs, and generally all Muslim societies, began a process of change and development. This was the case at the time of Napoleon when he defeated the Mamelukes at the Pyramids, and it still is the case today. Virtually all observers agree that the defeat in the Six Day War was really due to the fact that one society was retarded as compared with the other. Moreover, it was a lack of development not only in regard to military techniques, science and technology, and general basic instruction or economics, but also in the more complex political structures such as those responsible for the selection and training of military and political leaders.
I have just written: "Virtually all observers agree." This has to be modified-do the Arabs themselves share this view? Yes and no. They know and speak in general terms of the retardation of their society. Egypt's President Sadat himself calls for a new society to be built on "science and faith." But it is hard to envisage the full range of circumstances and facts, ideas and techniques, mentalities and usages which ought to be different. When it comes to organizing change, only a certain amount can be done at a given time. How much is generally dependent on the quality of the leadership. Since this is not always the very best, and provisions to obtain high-quality leadership are rather haphazard, real change is generally slow. And since "modernized" societies themselves tend to change and develop in an accelerated way, there is always the danger that the real gap might grow instead of decrease.
There is a kind of semi-awareness of these complex questions in the Arab world, a little more conscious among intellectuals than among the people, but largely subliminal in both groups. Such a situation of suppressed awareness is one most likely to foster the spread of vague fears, suspicions, uneasiness, anxiety; i.e. the feeling of being menaced and oppressed by alien forces over which one has no real control. Parallel to those ill-defined feelings, aggression will grow. There is always a tendency to compensate for inner insecurity by emphasizing the virtues, glories and essence of the society one belongs to and is engaged to defend.
The historical confrontation with Western modernity and its aggressive ways has also had its religious aspects. It began, after all, as a fight of Christian against Muslim. When it became a confrontation of European (and later Western, including the United States) against Arab, many of its old roots remained, especially for the simple people who continued to live in the context of traditional Islam. Even today they do not differentiate sharply between their Arabism and their Islam, and consequently they tend to draw no sharp dividing lines between the (religious) Jewishness or Christianity and the (culturally) alien quality of their antagonists. Overcoming their challenge thus becomes not only a necessity for the survival of the national community but also a kind of religious duty. During the first days of the Six Day War, when a victory was still anticipated by the Arab side, a saying spread in Beirut: "Today is Saturday and tomorrow is Sunday!" The local Christians, nearly all Arabs, took it very seriously indeed. It meant, as they would explain to foreigners: "Now it is the turn of the Jews, tomorrow that of the Christians!" There are always calls of Jihad mixed with the calls for war against Israel.
All these experiences and reactions ought to be apparent in the whole Islamic world if our way of explaining them is correct. In fact they can be seen there, but they are much more violent and outspoken in the Arab territories. Why? The Arabs will answer: Because the Turks, the Persians and the Pakistanis do not have an Israel to exacerbate their feelings. The Pakistanis have India in a similar function, but for Turkey and Iran there is much truth in the observation. In addition, however, the other Muslim nations have achieved or preserved a much more clear-cut national identity than the complex Arab configuration of states, all belonging to one Arab nation. They also have founding fathers of their modern states-Atatürk, Reza Shah, Jinnah-who impressed their wills on their nations as a whole.
The Arabs have, in some cases, founding fathers of single states: Ibn Saud; Zaghlul; Riyad as-Sulh; Bourguiba; Muhammad V; Sheikh 'Abdullah. In other states there are only "abortive" father figures who were overthrown and disowned by posterity. Nasser appears in a special class of his own: not successful with regard to his pan-Arab aims and policies, but recognized as their greatest leader since Muhammad Ali by the Egyptians and by groups of Arabs all over the Arab world, even though dismissed by other groups of the extreme Right and Left. The Arabs, however, have no heroes accepted throughout their world comparable to the founding figures of modern Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.
These other Muslim nations have their own problems, but on the whole they are less acute. Each one is different. In Turkey the towering figure of Atatürk has given the state its ideals and permanency, but the charisma seems to have worn thin these last years, at least with the students, if not yet with the military. In Iran it is a combination of the old tradition of Shah-dom with the modernizing and nationalist drive of the one-time soldier Reza Shah-aided in recent years by oil revenues which have so far permitted a certain economic success and a still-precarious stability. Pakistan has had the most problematic history, perhaps because the nation was set up essentially on an Islamic basis that proved to be inadequate for a modern state. The permanent preoccupation with the enemy India and the specific question of Kashmir could be said to have had a distracting effect from the real tasks of building the nation, similar to that of the Arab preoccupation with the enemy Israel.
The problem of unity, however, is peculiar to the Arab world. There is always the double pull of two loyalties, one toward the state and one toward the (pan-Arab) nation. It is significant that Arab opinion has reacted against this irritating duality by blaming "imperialism" for it. Frequently it is said to have imposed the "artificial" dividing lines between the Arab states and to work desperately in order to preserve them. This is one of the many instances in which "imperialism"-previously "colonialism"-becomes the external surrogate for Arab shortcomings, for it is basically the Arabs themselves, as they recognize in other moments and moods, who have not so far managed to find ways to bring together their countries.
This said, one must of course admit that a country like Jordan could not have existed without foreign financial help for the maintenance of the army. It used to be British, was for a short time (1957) inter-Arab, then became American and has remained so to the present time. Naturally, the Arabs are free either to blame themselves for not having managed the Jordanian issue more efficiently or else to blame "imperialism" for stepping in and providing aid vital to the Jordanian throne. As long as they primarily blame the outsider the issue will remain obscured in their own vision; they will be declaiming against a more or less mythical "imperialism" instead of analyzing the actual factors which led to a certain undeniable dependence of Jordan on the non-Arab outside world.
In similar fashion, the most recent power struggle between the fedayeen and the Jordanian army (1970 and 1971) ought to be analyzed in factual, not mythological, terms if any real lesson is to be drawn from it-and not a mystique leading to further unrealistic and consequently disastrous political plans.
The political career of Nasser shows clearly that the unity question can be used as an issue to distract Arab states from the failings of their regimes. Consciously or instinctively, Nasser used the unity issue in the latter part of his regime, as a kind of "circus" when the "bread" failed or grew scarce. The march through Sinai of the Egyptian army in May 1967 and its pretended readiness for war represented the final and most risky version of those "circuses." If it had succeeded in frightening the Israelis into acceptance, it would have carried Nasser's glory sky-high in the eyes of the Arabs.
Generally speaking, any nationalist policy can be shifted into the "unity track" when there are difficulties in the particular country. The temptation is constantly present to turn away from humdrum domestic tasks and politics into the much more glamorous field of pan-Arab politics and surprise coups. So far, these have provided a good deal of diversion, excitement and shortlived enthusiasm, but no tangible permanent result. And there is always the danger that such sensational and sometimes prearranged happenings will distract from confronting the real problems.
What are these real problems? Obviously, different regimes will give different answers. Equally, the officially announced priorities are not necessarily the issues which are given priority in fact. A striking example is the priority of the "battle" proclaimed in Egypt nearly every day for several years now; but no battle has taken place to date. In the last resort, probably all Arabs know that the real problems are those of development. Bourguiba said this rather directly to Qaddafi when it came to a public confrontation between them in Tunis in December 1972. Qaddafi had maintained in a public rally that only Arab unity could give "the power, the strength and the means" to the Arabs to defeat "Israel and imperialism." Bourguiba arrived suddenly and replied: "Unity of two underdeveloped states cannot lead to strength." He spoke of the technical insufficiency of the Arab countries, his own included, and criticized empty talk about grandiose plans: "We have better things to do, above all to reach the ranks of the developed countries. . . . While we lose our time in vain reunions, the developed countries progress further every day."
Those "better things" are by no means easy to achieve. It is not only a question of education and organization; underlying these there is a whole new way of life to be worked out. Not even the Tunisians, close to Europe and intimately connected with the Mediterranean as they have always been, want to become Europeans. If this were felt to be a precondition for reaching "the ranks of the developed countries," they would probably never want to get there. Development has to be achieved without loss of their own deeply ingrained personality, without loss of "Arabism," in harmony with the old and great cultural tradition of each of the Arab peoples and of the Arabs in general.
Moreover, the passage cannot be accomplished calmly and in unison-with gradual changes in intellectual outlook, the spontaneous growth and spread of new ideas, and generational evolution. No, there is always something forced about it. One is driven to act by material, economic and military necessities, by the very need for national survival-although it should be a part of realistic politics to provide a certain shelter against those pressures, in order to provide elbowroom for the complex process of mental and economic evolution. Instead of generating change from the inside, one is often forced to take much of it over from the outside, by imitating an outside world which is felt-not without reason-to be alien and menacing. In short, one must learn from that world, even imitate it, in order to defend oneself against it, with the ultimate aim of remaining oneself.
There may be doubt today whether this kind of process is possible at all. Optimists think that all European, American or, for that matter, Russian or Chinese institutions, ideas and techniques, once they have been taken over by the Arabs, become subtly Arab and begin to function in an inimitably Arab way.[i] Pessimists might object that the Arab aspects of, say, Arab banking or engineering or soldiering or diplomacy are Arab only residually, insofar as they are run "Arab fashion," i.e. with neither maximum efficiency nor rationality. In other words, their Arab aspect is no more than the coloration, or tinge, that Arab society inevitably bestows on any thought, institution or technique which it adopts-and this tinge will gradually disappear as more rationalized and efficient Arab societies develop.
There is a specifically French way of being contemporary modern and efficient which distinguishes itself considerably from the American, the Italian or Russian fashion of being the same. Why should there not be an Arab way? The only answer to this can be: although it ought to exist, this has yet to be accomplished. In the last analysis, it is a creative task that can only be achieved by the Arabs themselves. Beginnings have been made, rather ambitious ones in Egypt and Algeria. The Egyptian experiment has clearly run into trouble; for the results of the Algerian "bet" (le pari algérien] we still have to wait. There are less ambitious attempts going on in Lebanon, Tunisia and Kuwait. In other countries, controversies and struggles about who is to direct the experiment and what has to be done appear as yet to be using up most of the available time and energy.
Probably it is easier for a European nation or one deriving its civilization from Europe to retain its own essence and to become "modern" at the same time. This is principally because the European nations have been jointly "inventing" modernity, and thus making gradual adjustments ever since the Middle Ages, toward increasing the rational and scientific ingredients of their culture. For a non-European civilization, the task of incorporating such elements has been imposed suddenly from the outside; but Japan is there to show that a successful incorporation has been possible in at least one case.
A major question here is the compatibility of Islam itself with the "modern" outlook. Attempts to harmonize the two were made at the beginning of this century (in the Arab world principally by Egypt's Muhammad Abduh, 1849-1905), and these were partly successful. But after Abduh all such efforts appear to have been surprisingly superficial. The essential problem remains: how much can traditional religion and Islamic law be disregarded for the sake of rationality, modernity and scientific thought without the religion of Islam losing its essence? The attempts to gloss over verbally the very real divergences between the traditional religious and the modern scientific outlook do not resolve the difficulty but rather obscure it. Very few are the Arab intellectuals, however, who face the problem squarely. If they do, society is still quite liable to take revenge, as happened recently in the trial of Sadiq Jalal al-Azm, a Marxist philosopher who did try to "attack" Islam frontally by denouncing its influence and mood as contrary to the cultivation of a "scientific mentality." The problem is central; it will have to be faced squarely and dealt with creatively before an essential change in Arab thought and mentality, outlook and life-style can become possible.
From all this it becomes clear that the Arabs today are faced with much more than a political question. Their problems reach far deeper into the realms of philosophy on the one hand, and economic and social life on the other; they can be called "existential" problems of their whole culture.
There is a tendency which has been growing in the past two decades to attack those problems solely by political means, even to insist that they can only be treated in this way. The illusion exists that things "would sort themselves out" if only political and military solutions to problems such as Arab unity and Israeli military superiority could be found. This tendency has perhaps been fostered by the political outlook of Islam, for Islam is a "political" religion, seeking to establish the God-given order of things in this world. This very fact might conceivably draw attention in Islamic societies toward politics as the principal means of achieving a "new order," despite Islam's failure to do so during many centuries.
If politics is taken in a very wide sense, such attention to it might be justified. But, in that case, it ought to embrace the whole collective life of the community. The danger consists in taking politics in a narrow and dogmatic sense, e.g. concentrating attention exclusively on "the battle against Israel" or "resistance against imperialism" or achieving unity, while neglecting the deeper causes of present difficulties and the really much more urgent tasks of coping with them.
There is the theory of the "'two hands." The Arabs have to fight with one, it is said, while they build with the other. But so far, results have been disappointing. There has been no fighting and no real building either, mostly just muddling along. The two-hands policy is only a continuation and intensification of the previous policy of Nasser, which attempted to build a new Egypt and to bring about Arab unity at the same time. This has come to grief. But there has been no change in direction, rather exasperation and dogged persistence in the previous line. "It must work because it has not worked so far" appears to be the standard reaction.
This reaction is praised by the official propaganda as a "manifestation of the will of the people," or even of "the revolutionary will of the people." It is frequently seen as a guarantee of the allegedly inevitable final victory. But this may be just another mystique. There is no factual reason why persistence in a policy which has so far proved unsuccessful should lead anywhere but to further disaster and frustration.
The task of responsible politicians would be to harness the "revolutionary will of the people" to those constructive tasks which are necessary to transform Arab societies. Only the Arabs themselves can do this. No outsider can impose a solution on them. But to the outsider it would seem that there are two principal ways by which a solution could be approached. One would be by peaceful means and at a comparatively low human cost; it would probably in the end be speedier than the second. It would have to consist of permitting Arab societies at least a minimum amount of freedom of thought, expression and action, which would allow individuals to discuss, analyze, diagnose and experiment with their own problems and to evolve methods of solving them. The creativity of the Arabs would have to be fostered by allowing them sufficient freedom to build productive societies of their own in the economic field as well as in their scientific, artistic, political, philosophic and religious life.
The second way, of course, would be "revolutionary." It would consist of the destruction, as far as possible, of all the existing patterns of society, with new ones to be created, somewhere in the far future. The process would inevitably be undertaken at high human cost and probably lead through a long period with much suffering. It would be hoped that it might ultimately bring efficiency and modernity.
Which way is likely to be taken? As of now, one would have to say that the revolutionary way is the more likely.
For one thing, the peaceful evolutionary way smacks of liberalism, and "liberalism" is considered bankrupt by the Arab ideologues of the Left. It generally has a bad name because it is associated with the inner squabbles, inefficiency and corruption of the first independence period. It is not fashionable. It is even considered asocial, because there was indeed a kind of liberalism in those early years which worked in the interest of the rich and against the poor.
But most of all it is the failure to resolve the "war" against Israel that militates against the gradual way. There would have to be some kind of settlement with Israel before it could be undertaken.
On this issue, developments in the past year have given rise in moderate Arab circles to a small amount of hope, centered on the United States. Moderate intellectuals and statesmen in places like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia ask whether there may not now be a new opportunity for America to use her influence with Israel. They refer to the removal of Russian technicians from Egypt and wonder whether President Nixon in his second term may be more free to act in terms of his place in history and less in terms of (as they see it) immediate popularity. They discern a general world pattern of eased tensions into which peace in the Middle East would fit, and they are aware of growing recognition that not only Japan and Europe but also the United States will become in the next decade increasingly dependent on the oil reserves of the Persian Gulf. With enormous financial transactions between that part of the Arab world and the United States, these moderates see Arab goodwill becoming more important to Americans; true, it is as vital for the Arabs to sell their oil as for the West to have it, but, on balance, they believe the Arabs will find themselves in a sellers' market, which they can manipulate to a considerable degree according to their political preferences. If the present tensions and frustrations remain and build up, such manipulation could result in considerable (financial) punishment for the United States and other declared friends of Israel. Thus, these Arabs reason, the oil situation has become a strong additional incentive for Washington to act.
At the same time, the Arabs who hope for a political solution with American help are adamant that it must include the full implementation of the 1967 U.N. Resolution. This they read to require Israeli withdrawal from all the territories taken by her armies at that time-"the territories" rather than simply "territories"-and also the postulated "just solution of the refugee problem." Since the Israelis are just as adamant that they will not give back all these territories, it would seem that a settlement is not in view.
If this continues to be the case, then the second or revolutionary way becomes nearly inevitable. Today, these moderate Arabs regard their own radicals with considerable anguish. University professors, themselves Arab nationalists, tell of their students becoming more and more dogmatic and locking themselves up in their own thinking-in class terms and Manichean slogans of imperialism and anti-imperialism. One hears frequently: "Each term it becomes more difficult even to talk to them"-and "them" is truly the next generation of Arab leaders. Under these circumstances the question of whether a solution to the Israeli confrontation can be achieved could easily become a decisive junction on the road to the future.
What would a revolutionary path look like? The vicious circle described earlier in this article-of high hopes, frustration, and more radical aims leading to new frustrations-would probably be its beginning, and might continue for a long time. The answer to each new defeat would be more radicalism, more hatred of Israel and her Western friends, more desperate attempts to find "one's own" way, radically different from the European or American experiences and their path toward modernity.
The oil question would very probably become a major issue among the Arabs themselves in the early stages of such a possible "revolutionary" path. It can be assumed that the oil-rich desert states would attempt to maintain commercial relations with their chief market countries in the West, among them, in an increasing way, the United States. But the highly populated and comparatively sophisticated states of the "front line" toward Israel would turn the issue of the use of Arab oil-"just for money, making the rich even richer; or for the sake of an Arab revolution against Israel and the West?"- into one of their main propaganda platforms directed against the conservative oil producers. They would certainly attempt to overthrow those regimes by subversion, and in the long run they would probably be successful. After that they would attempt to evolve an oil policy designed to punish the friends of Israel and to benefit the friends of the Arabs, who in that case would almost certainly include most or all of the Communist world.
Progressively, the consequences to the Arabs themselves would be even more serious. They would become decisively involved in "Marxist-Leninist" ways of conceptualization and organization. Their model of modernity, which today is still a preponderantly Western one, would be switched over to Communist patterns. Communist in this context would probably not mean Russian; rather Chinese. This is because the Russians have already marked out the limits in their aid to the Arabs, and consequently have been rejected, at least as military partners, by the Egyptians last summer. The "Chinese way"-for Arab radicals equivalent to the "Vietnamese way"-is not identified with any given regime. It remains open for the revolutionaries and radicals who criticize bitterly all existing regimes and are looking out for something radically new.
Confused as the thinking and slogans of Arab radicals currently are, there is little doubt that they will eventually come to power in many Arab states if the present deadlock continues long enough. If their slogans should be converted into policies, this could in the short run lead rather to chaos in the Arab states than to any acute danger for Israel. But in the long run a new Arab society might crystallize from the process. And it might well resemble present-day China more than any other society now known to us.
[i] Jacques Berque's Let Arabes de Hier à Demain is devoted to this thesis.