Book Review: A futile hope of ‘normal’ politics in the Middle East?

Title: Islamic Exceptionalism – How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping The World; Author: Shadi Hamid; Publisher: St Martin’s Press/Pan Macmillan; Pages: 321; Price: Rs 499

The “Arab Spring” in 2011 was believed to be a turning point for the Middle East with the fractious and turbulent region set to embrace Western-style liberal democracy, as per Fukuyama’s “end of history” theory. But half a dozen years later, all these hopes are in disarray while the unpredicted rise of the vicious IS has further queered the pitch.

Is the turmoil of the recent years a temporary phase, or does it indicate some more systematic differences in the Arab world’s dynamics? Like it or not, it is the second option that is correct, says scholar Shadi Hamid and goes on to argue his case why the western concept of liberal, secular democracy may not strike roots in the region. (And his findings may have a closer relevance to India than seems evident.) Read more

Source: Business Standard