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To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad

John C. Hulsman.
Publisher Palgrave  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.85 inches
ISBN 9780230617421
Pages/Publication Date 256/2009
Daedalus Item Code 32000
This item is not available.
Through his swashbuckling adventures during the Arab Revolt of World War I, T.E. Lawrence developed a unique philosophy for working with developing peoples. He then embarked on a heroic effort, harnessing his celebrity to force the British to keep the promises they made to their Arab allies. Foreign policy expert John Hulsman, a lifetime member on the Council on Foreign Relations, weaves a gripping historical narrative from Lawrence's dramatic Middle East adventures and his surprisingly astute political thinking to give a bold new voice to this quixotic hero. Lawrence famously said of British efforts to further Arab self-rule: "Better to let them do it imperfectly than do it perfectly yourself, for it is their country, their war, and your time is short." He applied his extensive knowledge of the Arab world to a political vision for nation building in the Middle East whose insights continue to resonate today. In the end, however, Lawrence's efforts to stop Western powers from carving up the Middle East at Versailles fell tragically short, laying the foundations for the ongoing instability in that region.

"The fate of empires seems inevitably linked to their persistent desire to impose their cultures and systems on foreign soil. Employing the endlessly fascinating story of T.E. Lawrence, John Hulsman colorfully argues from history that, if you set out to liberate other nations, it is best not to undertake to liberate them from themselves. If we learn his lesson, our Baghdad will not become Lawrence's Damascus."—Gary Hart

"Hulsman tells us that 'in reality Lawrence was far more important as a thinker' than a warrior-prince. If our purpose is to discover a better nation-building strategy, Hulsman is correct, for as a thinker T.E. Lawrence offers us just that. President Obama, General David Petraeus, and a host of other western leaders would do well to study that strategy. And concerned Americans, as well as others, would do well to read this book."—Lawrence Wilkerson

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