One of this week's readings, The Economist's Special Report on the Arab World, was very insightful. The Report highlighted many problematic areas in the "Arab World" that The Economist pointed out might hinder the Arab world from modernizing and democratizing any further.
One of the major problems highlighted in the article is that Western imperialism has damaged and retarded the economic and political growth of the Middle East. Western colonialism and imperialism did this by carving out borders in the region, exploiting resources, and supporting puppet regimes, all the while ignoring any need for democracy (which the Western nations had for themselves). I think that this was (and still is) a very large problem: Western nations were the first nations to move from agrarian societies to urban societies, thus democratizing and liberalizing. So, the Western nations/societies were the first to "modernize," while the Middle East is still painfully trying to catch up. (And this is a "crisis of Islam" (i.e. the Islamic world).)
One thing that I found surprising was the fact that most of the Arab world is under the age of 25. I wonder what the repercussions of this fact will be. Will these young Arabs look fondly upon the United States (and the rest of the Western world)? Will they push for more modernization and liberalization?