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As American policymakers ponder the future shape of the Mideast, they should perhaps recall that the United States was opposed to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, the famous "line in the sand" that is now said to be dissolving.The U.S. opposed this neocolonial carve-up of the region and called instead for the right to national self-determination.The tragedy of America's role in the modern Middle East is that it became, without entirely intending or realizing it, the protector of the very postimperial order it once resisted. President Woodrow Wilson enunciated his framework in his famous "Fourteen Points" statement in January 1918, nine months after America had entered World War I. Britain and France prevailed, imposing a peace settlement so selfish and shortsighted that it all but guaranteed the rise of a revanchist Germany leading to World War II, and the endless headaches of the modern Mideast. The logic of a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East is becoming increasingly obvious, even to Israelis.
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