Over the past sixty years, contemporary Arab political history has witnessed two significant shifts, each of which has resulted in enormous social, economic, cultural, and ideological transformations. The experience of the Arab world is not unique; rather, it is part of the contemporary “world story” in general, and experience of “the societies of the South” in particular, despite the uniqueness of the Arab experience, in general, and the experience of individual country. This review reconstructs the Arab experience since the early 1950s and distinguishes two historical stages economically, politically, and ideologically. The first stage is the era of decolonization and the rise of Arab socialism (1952–70); the second stage is the era of globalization of colonialism or neoliberal capitalism (1980–2011), which in the opinion of the author is responsible for the unfolding of events in the Arab world since the end of 2010. The goal of this comparison is intended as political and historical criticism of the current Arab condition. Comparing and contrasting both stages, and reconsidering the model and experience presented by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, it is concluded that the Arab nation is facing the choice between two critical options: socialism or neoliberal barbarism.

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