With a historian's tools and perspective, Carl Brown draws comparisons between the 19th century's classic "Eastern question" and the succession of Middle East crises which have marked world politics since World War II. The names of most of the players have changed (the "sick man of Europe" has died), but the nature and the rules of the game have not. Understanding the interaction between the policies of outside powers and the politics of the region, Brown rightly notes, is the key to sound policy, but there is no sure way to reach that understanding, although he comes closer to it than most U.S. policymaking officials over the past 30 years. He might have given more space to the historic role of the "Concert of Europe" and how that role might be filled today.
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