Home > Anything Else, Radical Islam > Middle East Problems Caused by the West? British Journalist Niall Ferguson Mops the Floor with Historical Facts

Middle East Problems Caused by the West? British Journalist Niall Ferguson Mops the Floor with Historical Facts


Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization, will help us examine the role of the West in the revolution in the Arab world – and explain what history can tell us about why certain cultures appear to dominate the world at certain times.

Ferguson: “… [W]hen one’s trying to understand the problems of the region it’s far more illuminating to talk about the long-term legacy of Ottoman rule than to talk about the relatively short-term impact of British, French or Italian rule … You can’t say it’s the fault of Imperialism and leave out the longest living empire in the Middle East, which was the Ottoman Empire — the Muslim Empire — which went back much further than any of the European empires …

Let’s be absolutely clear here.  The culture that exists in the greater Middle East and North Africa today bears very, very few resemblances to the culture that the Europeans tried to implant there beginning in the late 19th century and carrying on through to the mid 20th century.  It owes far more to the long-lasting impacts of, say, Islam — let’s not forget that — which has had the biggest impact on the region of any empire.  So it seems to me the problem with arguing that it’s all the fault of ‘British Imperialism’, that’s to misdiagnose the problems.  And can I just pick up on one important point, which is slightly different, which is when you look at the problems that currently exist in a country like Egypt they have far more to do with the ways in which those countries have been governed in the last 30 years than with anything that happened under British law.”

Watch the video below for the full interview.

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