Anti-Americanism is a complex social and political mindset that permeates the political discourse of many parts of the global community. In recent decades, anti-Americanism has become most closely associated with the Muslim Middle East. The extensive research carried out by the Pew Research Center confirms that, whereas public perceptions of the US have been largely negative for decades, ‘in recent years that broad dislike has taken on an aspect of outright fear’ (Pew Research Center 2005). In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it appeared to many Westerners that Middle Eastern anti-Americanism had entered a new and violent chapter. As social pundits rushed to ask ‘why do they hate us?’, more nuanced voices attempted to contextualize this violent explosion of anti-American sentiment within a long and complex history of US foreign

policy and intervention in the Middle East. In a political climate marked by fear and uncertainty this was not an easy task.