And if we go back in history even further...
Sir: Bruce Anderson is wrong to say, "No one has ever looked foolish by sounding gloomy about the Middle East". A century ago, the region was bubbling with ideas and experiments, universal education, women's liberation, parliamentary democracy, the secular state, scientific revival.
That was before the British and French decided they should take control of the Arab world, with the help of Zionists and local stooges. We were nearly forgiven after Dwight Eisenhower, then US President, secured our withdrawal from Suez in 1956 and after Harold Macmillan's "Wind of Change" blew away the remains of the Empire.
Now George Bush and Tony Blair have put relations with Islam back to the state they were in during the Crusades, except that then Europe was still learning from the Arabs about science, mathematics and medicine.
P J STEWART