Kaplan’s Cure for the Middle East: Imperialism By Amitabh Pal

The solution to the current mess in the Middle East is to bring back imperialism—that’s what an influential foreign policy thinker is straight-facedly claiming.

Robert Kaplan has been dispensing advice for decades on how to manage the world, and his words have often been heeded. In the mid-1990s, his book Balkan Ghosts apparently helped convince President Clinton that not much could be done about the carnage in that region, since it sprang from atavistic impulses. Since September 11, Kaplan has been a proponent of a muscular global presence for the United States, citing the British Empire as a role model.

Now, he seems to have carried his fetish for empire a step further, arguing that only the reestablishment of imperialism can pacify the Middle East.

“The meltdown we see in the Arab world today, with chaos in parts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Levant, is really about the final end of imperialism,” he writes for Foreign Policy magazine. “Imperialism bestowed order, however retrograde it may have been. The challenge now is less to establish democracy than to reestablish order. For without order, there is no freedom for anyone.”

For Kaplan, it’s as simple as that.

Kaplan has a soft spot for the Saudi monarchy. “The House of Saud has impressively navigated its way over the decades through immense social transformation at home and a tumultuous security situation abroad,” he writes.

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