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Looking Back at 100

Three themes have dominated the author's analysis of global affairs in his previous 99 Project Syndicate commentaries. All of them – Middle East turmoil, the rise of China, and the dissolution of the post-World War II and post-Cold War order – are certain to figure prominently in the next hundred.

NEW YORK – This is my 100th column for Project Syndicate. It comes nearly 20 years after my first. As is the case with most milestones, it offers a good opportunity to take stock, to look back on what I have written, and to see what it says about the world over these two decades and where we may be heading.

Three themes stand out. The first is how much the Middle East consumed the world’s attention, including mine. Think about it: This is a region that is home to around 6% of the world’s people, and, despite possessing vast amounts of oil, accounts for less than 5% of global economic output. Yet it manages to account for a large share of the world’s headlines, conflicts, terrorists, and refugees.

Some blame the Middle East’s many problems on the European colonial powers. But that era is too distant from our own to explain today’s failures. After all, many former colonies elsewhere in the world are thriving.

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