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A nation must think before it acts.
The collapse or weakening of six empires over a 53-year period furnished the precondition for the rise of what we offhandedly call the modern Middle East. But if we mean “modern” as a concept of political sociology rather than a shorthand way of saying recent or contemporary, we must conclude that a “modern” Middle East is still straining to be born. We see that through an integrated analysis that explains not how the post-Ottoman Middle East arose, but why it took the shape it did.