The Muslim Brotherhood and the West: A History of Enmity and Engagement
By Martyn Frampton
Belknap Press, 2018, 672 pp.
Frampton exhaustively chronicles the history of the Muslim Brotherhood from its founding in 1928 to the Arab Spring of 2011. Before the 1970s, the West viewed Islam as a spent force, but then in the middle of that decade, militant jihadists became active in Egypt, and in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran was born. Subsequently, Western governments saw Islam as an integral part of politics, but they never solved the riddle of how to embrace it, and the United States never broke with any of its more secular authoritarian allies. As Frampton demonstrates, the United Kingdom and the United States never treated the Brotherhood as more than a possible tactical ally in the struggle against communism or as a bulwark against more extreme forms of Islam. There were exceptions, such as the British historian H. A. R. Gibb, who preferred the Brotherhood to military dictators in Egypt, but they were few and far between. Despite what many Egyptians believe, there is little evidence that the United States has actively sought to bring the Brotherhood to power.