The Arab world is a pluralistic region that lacks pluralism — the ability to manage and embrace differences peacefully. As such, the Middle East’s pluralistic character — Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, Druze, Alawites, Jews, Copts, Yazidis, Turkmen and an array of tribes — has long been managed by iron fists from above. But after we removed the fists in Iraq and Libya, without putting a new bottom-up order in place, and the people themselves tried to remove the fists in Syria and Yemen, without putting a new live-and-let-live order in place, a horrifying war of all against all has exploded.I have to think that this chaos is temporary by its very nature; human societies have a strong tendency toward order, and order will eventually reassert itself. Friedman himself point toward the example of Lebanon, where "the civil war ended after 14 years by reconciliation-through-exhaustion."
But in the meantime there is going to be a whole lot of misery, no matter what we do.