Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East by Elizabeth F Thompson - review by Lawrence Rosen

Lawrence Rosen

Power vs the People

Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East

By

Harvard University Press 418pp £29.95 order from our bookshop
 

‘Why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ Henry Higgins’s complaint in My Fair Lady often translates, in Western perceptions of Middle Eastern politics, into: ‘Why can’t they be more like us?’ George W Bush assumed that if we simply cleared out the old regime a democracy not unlike our own would grow naturally; Tony Blair said democracy isn’t about voting but about changing your way of thinking. But whatever its immediate political consequences, wanting others to be like us almost always entails some distortion of our shared history.

Elizabeth Thompson, a professor at the University of Virginia, argues that constitutionalism, as a means of achieving justice, was well on its way to regional acceptance around the time of the First World War, but the machinations of Britain and France, coupled with Woodrow Wilson’s failure to overcome the Allies’

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