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Though possibly best known today as a specialist on the Middle East and Islam, it is often forgotten how central the Cold War was in defining Fred Halliday's understanding of world politics before 1989 and indeed even after. Building on the earlier work of Isaac Deutscher and E. H. Carr, Halliday developed a distinct theory of the Cold War which afforded him great insights but ultimately failed in explaining the complexities of the East–West relationship, and why it came to an abrupt conclusion in the late 1980s.