"Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it."-Joseph Conrad.
Thursday, 29 December 2011
Britain's Global Mission is to Control Natural Resources.
The doctrine of 'liberal interventionism' is largely concerned with security in regions where Western interests are at stake. In 2012 those will be as they have in 2011-access to oil and gas. Some journalists as Simon Jenkins, however, often tend to think the elites who apparently form British Foreign Policy are suffering from deluded visions of its former imperial role.
....troubling is the foreign secretary, William Hague's, declaration on Facebook of a Christmas ambition to increase "international pressure on Syria … push Burma in the right direction … improve the situation in Somalia … and protect women's rights in the Middle East" among other uplifting goals.
His tour of the horizon boasted of "saving lives" in Libya, but he was more detached over Syria. He glided past Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, preferring the clearer ethical waters of Sudan, Somalia, Burma and Muslim women's rights.
None of the areas of Hague's concern had anything to do with Britain, let alone being within Britain's sovereign domain, nor have they been for over half a century. The power has gone. The legitimacy has departed. Only the language of implied command echoes through the Foreign Office's post-imperial dusk.
These areas are of concern to Britain. In democracies much of the presentation of foreign policy aims is "public diplomacy". This entails selling war or 2intervention " to bemused citizens and voters by promoting "our values" as being better than those other Powers such as China vying for control over minerals and oil.
The intervention in Libya was about securing oil supplies once Gaddafi's regime no longer seemed stable. As the invasion of Iraq in 2003 had backfired in opening up the oil concessions to Chinese capital as the dollar weakened along with the US economy, Libya was a relatively easy "regime change".
The mistake is to think of Britain having a foreign policy as an independent state. The diplomacy may have differed along with interests but essentially all twenty first century western wars are wars over diminishing resources such as oil and over the geopolitical quest for control over supply routes.
The security of zones which lie near to the resources that consumers demand ,whilst being indifferent as to where they come from, is the essential reality behind war irrespective of the claim to have a policy of 'liberal intervention'. China intervenes in Africa, especially Sudan, but makes no claim for 'human rights'.
One reason those such as Jenkins are against British foreign policy is because they are trapped in the mentality of the Cold War. Conservatives who detested the Communist threat are at a loss to know what purpose NATO has served since 1990.
The reality is that NATO is committed to energy security as a vital interest. Afghanistan is crucially now a conflict over securing the region for the construction of the TAPI Pipeline. The failure to grasp this fact is behind the sense of indignant outrage many feel at their state's foreign policy.
The claim to protect "Women's Rights" is public diplomacy: it makes interventions and meddling seem moral for citizens in liberal democracies who might otherwise feel uneasy about it. If Hague said we needed to intervene to preserve our consumer lifestyles he would be vilified for being honest.
Few want to confront unpleasant facts. If Libya was a war for oil, it is because it was a way to diversify oil supply when faced with the catastrophe of Iraq and Iran resisting Western pressure over its supposed nuclear programme. The reality in fact being that Iran is being targeted because of it's resources and position.
One unmentioned aspect of the Afghan war is that the TAPI Pipeline-the New Silk route-is designed as part of the policy of cutting off export markets for it's gas in neighbouring Pakistan. In turn, Iran then gives support to groups such as the Taliban to sabotage the plan to 'stabilise' the country to the advantage of it's clients.
The reason why the West does not want a regional peace settlement is that it does not want Iran to have any influence in using its gas and pipelines to exert clout in Central Asia or the Middle East. The West needs the pipeline to block off Chinese, Russian and Iranian collusion over energy.
If there is going to be talk over Britain's 'Imperial ethos', then reference should be made to the nineteenth century Great Game. Britain is a bit player in a new struggle for hegemony in energy rich Central Asia in which it supports the US in preserving its energy security.
Any omission of the strategic realities makes any commentary on foreign policy irrelevant, unenlightening and obsolete. The Guardian promotes delusional wish thinking on foreign policy by failing to mention the overdependence of Britain on diminishing fossil fuels.