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Nationalism vs. Imperialism

Reader comment on item: The "Shocking Document" that Shaped the Middle East Turns 100

Submitted by There is NO Santa Claus (United States), May 17, 2016 at 08:39

The Sykes-Picot Agreement is another cruel act in the Middle Eastern Play of Nationalsim vs. Imperialism. The European powers thought THEIR empires would replace the Islamic one with accommodation for Nationalist aspirations of the Arabs. Even after the plan disintegrated with the rise of modern Turkey, The false assumption that the old Islamic empire was dead and gone persisted.

As nation-states took form in the early 1920s, it should come as no surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood was born from the ashes of the Caliphate. The old empire was dead, but Islamic imperialism was not. Dr. Pipes likes to call these modern day imperialists "Islamists".

Noting the constant warring and fighting among different factions of Muslim imperialists, the dream of a borderless Islamic Empire ruled by a Calif remains. As the struggles between the great powers wax and wane, the Brotherhood (or whatever organization; Shiite, Sunni etc.) lives on filling the void left by receding empires (British, French, Soviet etc.) and fallen nationalist tyrants.

Throughout this period, only a few nations emerged from any form of do-it-yourself ambition. Israel is probably the most obvious, but a case can be made for some others; perhaps Egypt and Algeria. Iran and Turkey represent nation-states that are clearly toying with imperial aspirations. Iran is more obvious but Erdogan's policy shows clear signs of the same type of movement.

Of the nations that emerged from the fall of the Ottoman Empire, few Muslim nations remain intact. Those that are still intact are quickly realizing that the old formula of trading oil for foreign support of their tyrannical rule is not going to hold over the long run. Moreover, though these leaders once envisioned themselves as part of a larger Islamic empire, the fate of leaders overthrown by imperialists have not been lost on them. As such, they now talk more and more about domestic industrialization and diversification of their economies. In other words, a do-it-yourself approach to nation building. For these remaining nation-states, this is the only way they can keep their heads attached to the rest of their bodies.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement simply failed to realize the eventual probability of the old Islamic empire rising again. Though the Islamic imperialists are splintered and doomed to eventual failure, they continue to foil any outsider's vision of a permanent map of the region. That map will always be in a state of flux and change. Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't been paying attention.

Thus I support Dr. Pipes' basic thesis. Foreign nations trying to define a map of the Middle East (or any portion thereof) will ultimately find their efforts futile.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (39) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
In the words of David Ben Gurion when he appeared before the British Peel Commission in Palestine in 1937: [229 words]YJ DraimanAug 15, 2017 01:45240475
It does not get much worse than this! [96 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Stuart SchoenbergerDec 16, 2016 13:05234705
Hilarious [168 words]EvaJun 9, 2016 01:02229895
Nationalism vs. Imperialism [436 words]There is NO Santa ClausMay 17, 2016 08:39229499
1ENOUGH [4 words]1776partIIMay 13, 2016 19:15229454
3This sound like Left-wing Utopianism [384 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael SMay 12, 2016 18:46229423
3There is no acknowledged standard for how and by whom borders should be set. [583 words]Michael S.May 13, 2016 14:35229423
Borders are Drawn by Armies [85 words]SAKOVKTMay 16, 2016 13:33229423
I don't advocate any "better" way [292 words]Michael SMay 20, 2016 03:41229423
Creating space for ME Christians [176 words]DaveSMay 12, 2016 10:58229422
advice to the EU [25 words]mythMay 12, 2016 09:35229421
1The Moral of Sykes Pikot [163 words]SuchindranathAiyerSMay 12, 2016 00:48229415
A sane and mature choice [46 words]Michael JacobsMay 11, 2016 04:01229404
1Political and economic sickness is endemic to Islam [111 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael SMay 10, 2016 17:43229398
Indeed, you will be dealing with a people who worship God, Fire and the Devil. [323 words]Michael SMay 13, 2016 03:15229398
Thank you for a Breath of Fresh Air and some uncommon colmmon sense on this subject [243 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Phebe AdamsMay 10, 2016 16:09229397
hurrah no one else remmebered sykes picot ... [145 words]oded yinonMay 10, 2016 10:19229392
Adults? You mean Israel? [85 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Fran├žois GravelMay 10, 2016 06:31229390
racist? .. no .. [184 words]Anne JulienneMay 13, 2016 00:25229390
'Perfidity"? [381 words]SAKOVKTMay 10, 2016 06:25229389
Berlin Conference 1884 [264 words]SAKOVKTMay 13, 2016 11:48229389
I agree, so does ISIS [50 words]MikeMay 10, 2016 03:01229388
McMahon letters [191 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Avinoam Ben DorMay 10, 2016 02:13229387
and your point? [80 words]Anne JulienneMay 13, 2016 00:09229387
6You mean the Muslims weren't paranoid before it? [614 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
UNCLE VLADDIMay 9, 2016 23:57229386
1Correction [93 words]DajjalMay 13, 2016 19:11229386
why not work together? [250 words]Anne JulienneMay 9, 2016 22:31229384
Israel [49 words]ConradMay 9, 2016 14:23229378
Blame Local Hatred, Not Sykes-Picot [253 words]DaveMay 9, 2016 14:02229377
A short synopsis of Jewish History and the Arab Israeli conflict r6 [1320 words]YJ DraimanMay 9, 2016 12:43229375
The sick region [52 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
PezDispenserMay 9, 2016 12:13229374
Don't allow a torch in an anthill [99 words]PhiliorMay 9, 2016 11:50229373
The Sykes-Picot Myth [260 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Gideon RemezMay 9, 2016 11:21229372
Sykes-Picot [241 words]Martin SchaffelMay 9, 2016 11:17229371
What about the treaties of Sevres 1920 and Lausanne 1923 and the League of Nations mandates? [609 words]Daniel BamfordMay 9, 2016 10:52229369
The Faisal Weizmann Agreement of January 3, 1919 [64 words]YJ DraimanMay 13, 2016 16:32229369
1A Deeper Cause [272 words]Ron ThompsonMay 9, 2016 10:05229367
Off topic [79 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
ECAWMay 9, 2016 08:54229366
1SO, SUBJECTIVE OPINIONS TRUMP OBJECTIVE FACTS?! [21 words]UNCLE VLADDIMay 13, 2016 18:05229366

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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