As the war in Gaza enters its fourth month, many in the Middle East and across the Global South have been struck both by the ferocity of Israel’s military campaign and by Western governments’ unwavering support for it.
To them, this is as much U.S. President Joe Biden’s war as it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s, and the continuing indifference to the scale of the devastation has reaffirmed how cheap Arab lives appear to be to Western leaders.
For those who lived through the Cold War and witnessed how Western powers dealt with post-colonial states and their peoples, recent events are all too familiar. As I argue in my new book, “What Really Went Wrong: The West and the Failure of Democracy in the Middle East,” the United States and other Western countries, mainly the United Kingdom, have for nearly a century pursued an interventionist, militaristic and anti-democratic foreign policy that largely ignores Middle Eastern peoples’ interests. If anything, Western decisions have been driven historically by the desire to roll back communism and secure the dominance of liberal capitalism.