A region in peril

David Gardner’s ‘Last Chance’ is an urgent and rigorous analysis of the west’s disastrous policies in the Middle East

Last Chance: The Middle East in the Balance, by David Gardner, IB Tauris, RRP£10.99, 272 pages

The FT’s international affairs editor pulls few punches in this urgent and rigorous analysis of the west’s disastrous policies in the Middle East.

President George W Bush’s military adventurism is repeatedly lambasted, but only as the most obvious target in a catalogue of western failures.

Written before the Arab spring, but with a new preface added for the paperback edition, the book’s central arguments appear borne out by the events of the past 12 months.

No regional stability will emerge, Gardner argues, without political reform of the “autocratic” Arab dynasties whose legitimacy is propped up by military repression and western collusion.

By “conniving in tyranny”, western powers have both “served as a recruiting sergeant for international jihadism” and stifled the emergence of a confident civil society.

A fluent and informative study of a region that is changing before our eyes.

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