One hundred years after the Sykes-Picot treaty dividing up the territories of the Middle East, the hope that the region will someday consist of peaceable and well-ordered sovereign states within their current borders seems increasingly deluded. Robert Nicholson suggests a different approach, one seeking to build on the internal cohesion of such “organic communities” as Kurds, Druze, and Assyrian Christians:
The fundamental disease of the Middle East is a crisis of identity coupled with bitterness toward the West and a paralyzing fear of rival communities. Contrary to popular conceptions, the Middle East is not a monolithic sea of Islam or a swarming hive of hostile Arabs. It is a mosaic of religions and denominations, languages and ethnicities, cultures and subcultures that have intermingled but remained disparate for thousands of years. America should seek to play upon this reality, not struggle against it. . . .
Many skeptics will doubt the ability of Assyrians or any other Middle Eastern community to determine its own future in such a hostile and complex environment. But skeptics also doubted the prospect of Jewish political revival only 100 years ago. Who could not help laughing at young Jewish farmers and intellectuals working against all odds to push the concept of an independent Jewish polity located inside the Ottoman empire and centered on the ancient city of Jerusalem? Today the Jews are living on their ancient homeland, speaking their ancient language, and surviving—even flourishing—among hostile neighbors committed to their destruction.
The Assyrians are actually in a far better position today than the Jews were then, and there is no reason to doubt that the same process that resulted in a Jewish state could not likewise result in an Assyrian one. . . . Israel itself may in fact be a good model for what the new Middle East could look like: a series of small, mostly homogenous nation-states with strong Western alliances and innovative economies based on the twin pillars of freedom and law.