January 12, 2024 - 5:40pm

Late last night, the US and Britain launched attacks on Houthi military targets in Yemen, after weeks of warning the Iranian-backed rebels to stop attacking commercial ships. Under the cover of darkness, the US-led strikes hit more than 60 targets in 16 different locations, which resulted in at least five deaths (with a further six wounded).

Western powers have since tried to downplay concerns that the conflict in the Middle East is escalating. Earlier today, Pentagon officials claimed that the strikes were part of an effort to “de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea”. But with the Houthis vowing retaliation, is the situation spiralling out of control?

Joining Freddie Sayers for an emergency interview, UnHerd’s political editor Tom McTague shared his thoughts on the conflict. He argued that one country that has been curiously absent from the military response is China, even though the Red Sea shipping lane is its most valuable customer. Is the West cutting an increasingly isolated figure on the world stage? Or does it remain the preeminent power, reasserting its dominance in this permanently restive region?