Over the past quarter century, the world has witnessed the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the collapse of military dictatorships in Latin America. Today, the Middle East remains the last bloc of countries to hold out against the political reform. The nations of the Middle East still resist overtures toward democratic reform, even as the region continues to dominate U.S. foreign policy and shapes security priorities worldwide.
On March 4, the Brookings Institution hosted journalist and author Robin Wright for a discussion of her new book, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East. In her book, Wright argues that the Middle East’s nations are in the midst of a historic transition. Wright focuses on the pivotal countries and regions of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Morocco. Drawing on first-hand interviews with many of the region’s key players, Wright animates her book with accounts that demonstrate the human dimension of this period in Mideast history. Dreams and Shadows draws on 35 years of Wright’s reporting—through wars, revolutions, and uprisings—and details the birth of new democratic movements and a new generation of political activists in two dozen countries.
Martin Indyk, senior fellow and director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks and moderate the panel discussion. Shibley Telhami, Brookings nonresident senior fellow and the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, served as a discussant.