‘What is the new world order?’ a Saudi preacher asked me the other day. Order is something the Saudis like the sound of. The world is an entity from which many Saudis are isolated. ‘New’ is a word which for Arabs has a suspicious, dangerous ring about it. I tried to explain what President Bush might have meant by the phrase, referring to the context in which it first appeared. The Cold War was over, Eastern Europe was free. The Americans obviously thought that these winds of change applied to the Middle East as well. Dictators were no longer going to be tolerated – certainly not dictators who opposed the wishes of the United States.
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