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Foreign Policy, can it ever be benign?

5 replies

HappyDaddy · 23/08/2007 11:26

Not a specific news item but something I've thought about for a while. This isn't about who we have or haven't voted for.

Do any of you, especially those with knowledge of this subject, think that the UK can ever have a foreign policy that doesn't involve attempting to tell other countries what they should be doing in our interests?

Obviously we are close to the US but I wonder if we ever can or will stop all this secret squirrel fucking over of countries that have resources we want.

The whole thing makes me very sad.

OP posts:
speedymama · 23/08/2007 11:39

My personal view is that the first world approach to countries who have the resources we need is a hang over from the imperialist days when they use to go out and take what they want. They cannot do that now so they have to use other means.

Optimistically, they see other countries as partners/allies, especially in the global economy and recognise that quid pro quo is the way forward. There is some altruism on the part of first world countries but most of it is driven by nihilistic self-intrest.

Pessimistically, first world countries only concern themselves when it is in their interest to do. The plight of the people in Darfur would receive more attention if they had found oil in the area. As it happens, Darfur has no resources to offer the West hence why first world countries choose to adopt the softly, softly, no urgency at all approach whilst the Arab muslim extremists butcher the black Africans.

HappyDaddy · 23/08/2007 11:44

It's terrible. Also all of this "democracy must prevail" bollocks, what they mean is "only if the elected leaders are the ones we like". Who are we to meddle in other country's politics? Fine, if we intercede to stop genocide (which follows your point, speedymama) but for our own interests? It almost always back fires anyway, in the long run.

Why don't we look at the long run? Why so short sighted. And why don't we learn from our previous mistakes?

OP posts:
speedymama · 23/08/2007 11:49

Politicians focus on winning the next election so only look ahead 4 or 5 years
We know better

HappyDaddy · 23/08/2007 12:28

So most high level politicians do only concern themselves with staying elected, rather than doing some good?

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speedymama · 23/08/2007 15:14

Not all but some do, sadly. I really admire people like Hillary Benn and Clare Short and for their sincere work at DFID because they really do care about making a difference to poverty stricken countries.

I really admired Frank Field in the first term of Blair's govt for wanting to reform the benefit system and make people less dependent upon it by providing a viable route for them to really start helping themselves. Unfortunately that proved very difficult because the political will was not there to implement an unpalatable and unpopular policy as well as the fact that it clashed with Brown's overzealousness for means-testing.

I guess it is too easy to say that politicians are only in it for their own self-aggrandizement but when you consider the shenanigans surrounding EU agriculture policy, trade tariffs etc that penalise poorer countries, you do have to wander if their altruism has fled them.

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