Sunday, 31 August 2014

Britain's Foreign Policy on IS: Building Towards Military Intervention.

'As Washington seeks to build a multi-national coalition to support an expansion of air strikes against the jihadists....the prime minister returned to work in Downing Street to intensify plans for an emergency action plan to be agreed at the Nato summit'. The Guardian
'We have been putting in humanitarian aid. I can confirm that last night I authorised two Hercules to participate in the big aid drop on Amerli, a town that has been under siege for nearly two months. The RAF dropped 14 tonnes of food and water there for a population that has been completely besieged'-Michael Fallon, British Defence Minister.
Since the US bombing of IS positions commenced a couple of weeks ago, there has been a growing feeling that Britain too could be dragged back into involvement in Iraq at a level beyond RAF Hercules aircraft dropping food supplies to Iraqis in need and surrounded by IS foot soldiers.

The emphasis has been, therefore, upon humanitarian intervention once more, something invariably leading to the suspicion of yet another 'western war' being planned or else that IS is a creation of the CIA acting in tangent with Israel and with the Caliph himself a Mossad plant.

Certainly, there is not much evidence of public support for any military intervention. Had there been, it is far more likely Cameron could have taken a Blair-style 'shoulder to shoulder' stance. If anything, Cameron was playing for time throughout August 2014, not wanting to be seen as rushing into another conflict.

Cameron claimed Britain's 'military prowess' and 'assets' would be deployed, that 'boots on the ground' were not an 'option on the table' nor air strikes-unless requested. The language of Cameron and his ministers is standard fare and so yawn inducingly banal that many people would feel like switching off the TV.

It looks likely that the British government does not know what could be done or else, far more likely,  it does but is putting out constant spin and managing the media to try and play down the imminent threat of military intervention until some sort of trump card, yet to be played, could be produced.

The task of Britain's politicians seems to consist in trying to anticipate what Washington is going to require its 'first ally' to do the better to position themselves and Britain's 'military assets' at the service of the US should they be requested and so pose as independent 'global players'.

The attempt by the government to ramp up the rhetoric about IS is about softening up public opinion ready for military intervention. Bombing IS positions is not going to defeat it, however, and there is not much sign of any shift away from the failed foreign policy towards Syria. So a 'generational struggle' is on.

This is known as 'public diplomacy'. The basic fact is that the military intervention in northern Iraq is primarily about protecting the Kurdistan region and the oil producing regions from IS and to prevent the Iraqi state collapsing. This would trigger off a potential surge in global oil prices. 

The international development minister Alan Duncan "This is such a complicated conflict that any response needs to be a well co-ordinated international effort." John Kerry went on in a speech later to claim there was a need for a 'world coalition' to defeat a 'genocidal ISIS'.

By 'international', that means 'the west' taking action to ensure energy security as some 20% of Iraqi oil is exported to Europe. But more oil goes to East Asia which is heavily dependent upon imported oil. Higher oil prices would mean higher production costs in China and the cost passed on to Western consumers.

It is partly because the US and Britain back in 2003 caused the havoc in Iraq, still unfolding to such an extreme degree in 2014, that military intervention of some sort of a continued basis appears inevitable. But it also underlines the way the global economies have become dangerously overdependent upon oil.

This is a fact many in the West refuse to confront. It is one thing blaming the politicians as bungling and pursuing a contradictory strategy in Syria and Iraq. But, at a deeper level, the hyper-consumerism that those citizens enjoy requires that this sort of military intervention becomes more frequent.

So, in this sense, political double standards are necessary whereby the most obvious facts about British foreign policy, such as the energy interests ( i.e oil and gas ) are seldom talked about sensibly and reduced to cynical sneers by 'anti-war' activists about military intervention being 'all about the oil'.

This, in turn, means that the very serious problem of the most advanced global economies being fragile and dependent upon oil prices, and the continued access to easily available supples, is impossible to discuss without the accusation of peddling conspiracy theories being made by the defenders of the foreign policy.

No comments:

Post a Comment