Chapter one, The Making of the Modern Middle East, presents a comprehensive analysis of the history and the formation of the Middle East. It makes one comprehend the events that shaped the region on its political, social and economic aspects. The topic that I view as important for the analysis is Changing Contexts. It entails the involvement of the Western world in the Middle East region particularly on the influence of the Ottomans and other European powers. From an individual perspective, the changes influenced by the European powers shaped the relations among various countries and contributed to the improvement of systems present in the political, social, and economic constructs.
I have learned that one of the main changes was the challenge of the west whereby other European powers occupied the region and overwhelmed the Ottomans empire. The increase in economic output, expansive riches of the new world, and technological advancements are viewed to be the main factors to have benefited the European powers to gain authority over the region. The wealth that was taken to Europe from the Americas is considered to have made the initial push in empowering the European powers. The leadership by Mehmet Ali is also considered to have made significant contributions to maintaining a link between the Western world and the Middle East region (Lust).
I have also learned that the Ottomans played a significant role in shaping the Middle East despite the emerging influence of other European powers particularly on the reformation of the legal and social systems. According to the text, the Ottomans, They all but abolished the millet system and its multiple status hierarchies and inaugurated a form of modern citizenship. All individuals were accorded the same legal status regardless of religious identity, (Lust). In other words, every person was to be viewed as equal regardless of the religion of race. Nonetheless, the intentions of Ottomanism was not supported as expected as some religious affiliations and tribes still viewed themselves as powerful or rather more important when compared to the rest. Possibly, this explains why there are still issues between religions especially Islam and Christianity whereby a country such as Egypt is still faced with religious differences and persecutions of people from differing religions.
It is perceived that before the occurrence of the First World War, the European influence had dominated the whole of the Middle East Region whereby the powers were driven by the urge to acquire more colonies and resolving the debt associated with financial crises that faced them (Lust). In my opinion, the European powers viewed the Middle East region as an opportunity for them to gain their ground regarding political, social and economic stability. Also, they can be viewed to possess adequate weaponry that made it difficult for the rules in the Middle East to defeat them. Leaders such as Napoleon are viewed to have tried to use treachery in obtaining power. A good example is the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon which received plenty of reaction from the Muslims in the region, the Ottoman and the British. The invasion is viewed to have resulted in the Eastern question on how to manage the Ottoman Empire which was not keeping up with the increasing strengths of its neighbors. The French used poor Arabic to communicate to the Egyptians that they had good intentions and that Napoleon was a Muslim and hence had their interests.
Lust, Ellen. The Middle East. Los Angeles: Sage, 2014. Print.
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