"prospects in the Middle East [are] much healthier than they were five years ago."
Who says so? Looking at news headlines over the past month, you'd be hard pushed to find many people who would agree. But, it all depends on your perspective. The sentence above is quoted from a news item about the booming UK arms export business.
And just in case you thought enough was enough, (best year in almost a decade apparently, at $10 billion in 2006 and second only the US) we read that ...
"Britain [is] looking to Asia to grow its export footprint".
Not the kind of impression that many of us would like to see our country making in the world, I feel.