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The Middle East Needs an ASEAN

Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org)
Source URL (retrieved on Aug 15, 2011): http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-middle-east-needs-asean-5755

The Middle East Needs an ASEAN


August 11, 2011
Leon Hadar [2]
During the roaring globalization years of the 1990’s when “Friedmanism”—Tom, not Milton—was all the rage, Israel’s elder statesman was putting fantasy to paper in The New Middle East (Henry Holt, 1992).

Peres, the chief architect of the Oslo Agreement with Yasser Arafat, imagined the birth of a democratic and free-market-oriented region. Israelis and Palestinians would be integrated into a reconstructed Middle East, a regional economic and political superstructure, along the lines of the European Union, providing enduring security and lasting prosperity for “all the nations of the Middle East.”

To borrow Friedman’s favorite metaphors, the “Lexus” was destined to crush the “olive tree” with young Israelis and Arabs surfing the Internet and enjoying th…