The "advent of a new generation" of Arabs was the overly optimistic theme for University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole's recent lecture at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Relations. Cole's discussion of his new book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East, to an audience of about fifty, mostly Elliot School students, failed to substantiate his ongoing hopes for the so-called Arab Spring.
Elliot School professor Edward W. (Skip) Gnehm introduced Cole as a Middle East expert who is popular on television, a supposedly confidence inspiring credential. Cole focused on Tunisia, noting that this comparatively small North African country with no oil resources had received "insufficient press." His main concern was "youth revolutionaries," as the Arab press termed Arab Spring regime opponents in Libya, Tunisia, and elsewhere.
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