Regrettably our corner of the planet is no stranger to war. Even so, the current spiral of conflict in the Middle East both internal and geopolitical is unprecedented in modern times. The spreading disorder inspired us to take a deeper look at the causes of and the solutions to political crises, in the region and broadly around the world. The result is our Special Report: Resolving Conflicts.
Topping our lineup is The Cairo Review Interview with the Arab World’s elder statesman, Lakhdar Brahimi, who struggled against French colonialism and then Islamic extremism in Algeria, and has served as a United Nations peace envoy to countries from Afghanistan to Haiti. His advice to young diplomats: “No two conflicts are alike. Every conflict has its own reality. Your most important asset is an intimate knowledge of the situation in the country where you are.”
Meanwhile, David Ottaway and Marina Ottaway offer insights into Arab politics in their essay, “Egypt’s Leaderless Revolution.” Seyed Hossein Mousavian and Mehrdad Saberi argue for a new regional order in “America’s Middle East Challenge.” Rashid Khalidi deconstructs seven decades of failed American policy in “The United States and Palestine.”
Further afield, Nicholas Stadlen tells the story of Bram Fischer, an Afrikaner Nationalist whose friendship with Nelson Mandela helped sow the seeds for a multiracial South Africa. Forty years after the Fall of Saigon, Ngo Vinh Long examines how bitter enemies have become surprising friends. Charles Williams II explains why racial tensions in America continue despite the election of an African American president. Aaron Mills examines the colonial injustice suffered by Canada’s indigenous peoples and makes the case for a new constitutional order.
In his essay, “On the State of Nature,” Graham Harman, distinguished university professor here at the American University in Cairo, advances a modern philosophical framework for politics based not on Right versus Left, but Truth versus Power. Yet a problem with this duality, Harman writes, is that both err in assuming they know how the world really works. “This,” he says, “ignores that politics at its best admits uncertainty as to the best course of action.” Certainly a little more humility—and a lot more wisdom—is a good place to start in addressing the world’s troubles.