struggle between the arab world and the christian west. American intrusion in its affairs forms part of the 1,400 plus years of struggle between Islam and Christian. The issue is not about America and the Arabs or American hegemony against Arab extremism. The United States is just a recent player in the entire experience of the conflict between the East and West based on religious grounds.
The author cited the long narrative of the Middle Eastern experience. He pointed to the establishment of the many governments of each the states in the Middle East – from the establishment of military authoritarian governments to democracies and constitutional monarchies. For Viorst, these developments in this century are characterized by foreign involvement and that the war being waged from the perspective of the Arabs (at least those who engage in extremism and with the current permeation of anti-American sentiment) is the natural reaction in order to liberate their homeland. Their campaign and desire are not unlike what has been waged in the Middle Ages for control of the Holy Land.
The Viorst text has helped me understand world affairs and world history in several ways. The first of these is the fact religion is a vital force behind the Arab nationalism. Certainly, this point has been cited by several authors and historians several times already but, in this case, I learned a deeper understanding of why this is so. The potency of religion in influencing conviction is due to the fact that it forms part of the belief and value systems of a community. Islam has been known to combine politics and religion that is why nationalism has been reinforced in such a way that the Western concept of it pales in comparison. Arabs can talk about death to oppressors and claim religious righteousness but Western societies cannot accept this from its people. The differences are glaring and these underscored the irreconcilable conflicts in the perspectives of the East and the .West. In Chapter 2 of the Stearns text, colonies emerge as new nations and that the reader is offered the simplistic analysis about nation-building for those territories that have been part of European imperialism and how the West took an active role in paving the road for them towards democracy. .