Last updated on: 5/15/2008 2:20:00 PM PST

What Effect Did the End of the Cold War Have on the Middle East?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Avi Shlaim, PhD, Professor of International Relations at St. Antony's College, Oxford, in his 2001 book The Iron Wall wrote:

"The collapse of the Soviet Union as a superpower orphaned Moscow's former clients and pulled the rug out from under the Arab rejection front that had always opposed any peace settlement with Israel. The ending of the global contest between the two principal protagonists thus made possible, or at least conceivable, the ending of the conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis."

2001 - Avi Shlaim, PhD 

Bernard Lewis, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Near East Studies at Princeton University, in his 1995 book The Middle East wrote:

"The ending of the Cold War, and the collapse of the bi-polar discipline which the two superpowers [Soviet Union & United States], sometimes acting in competition, sometimes in accord, had managed to impose, confronted the peoples of the Middle East, like those of other regions liberated from superpower control or interference, with an awful choice. They could move, however slowly and reluctantly, to settle their disputes and live peacefully side by side, as happened in some parts of the world; or they could give free rein to their conflicts and hatreds, and fall into a descending spiral of strife, bloodshed and torment, as happened in others.

It was surely the prospect of this bloody descent into chaos, and the awareness that there were forces -- inside not outside the region -- actively working to this end, that impelled the government of Israel, the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and a number of Arab governments to embark on negotiations which, with external and particularly American help, seemed to be leading to mutual recognition, to a measure of mutual tolerance, and, more practically, to the transfer of the occupied territories from Israeli to Palestinian rule."

1995 - Bernard Lewis, PhD