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Realpolitik for the British

Over on Airstrip One they’re getting themselves in something of a lather over the prospect of British involvement in any attack on Iraq. Hadrian Wise is forthright:

“There are many reasons for opposing British participation in an American attack on Iraq, but there is only one good one: that it is not in our interests.”

Really? I have what I consider to be jolly sound reasons for taking quite the opposite view.

Anyone who has not been in hibernation for the last 20 years must surely by now have noticed that Britain as a sovereign nation is being subjected to a remorseless process of extinction by degrees and I think it uncontroversial to suggest that, if Britain is subsumed into the Holy Belgian Empire, then any further discussion of British national interests will have been made entirely redundant by virtue of there no longer being a country called Britain. Are we agreed? Good. Let’s move on.

Given the above-mentioned scenario, one would have thought that the most screamingly urgent national interest would be to avoid it all costs and I suggest that a good way of avoiding it would be by steadfastly maintaining our strategic alliance with the USA whose own national interests are, as has been widely noted, growing increasingly inverse to the more nebulous concerns of the Europeans. This is an opportunity that British patriots could not, dare not miss.

As Our Glorious Leader maintains his pledge to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans, he alienates not only about two-thirds of his own political party but, far more importantly, drives an ever-deeper wedge between Britain and Brussels; a wedge that can only prove to be vital to our national survival. Does Blair have the political capital to throw us into the war against Iraq and get Britain into the Euro? I think not. The choice confronting us, therefore, is a) the extinction of Britain or b) the extinction of Saddam Hussein. Ooh, that’s a tough one!

Now before anybody embarks upon a lambast of my apparent callousness, I do realise that waging war on Saddam will, in all likelihood, lead to loss of both British troops and Iraqi civilians. I want to assure all that I am not indifferent to this but we’re talking about stark national interests here and, in that context, such sentimentalities do not get a look in. They never have and they never will.

So, as far as I am concerned, Tony Blair is doing the right thing and I cannot tell you how strange it feels to type those words. This is because I, along with many others, always believed that he saw his own destiny as future President of Europe. But I now suspect this may have changed. I think that the hand of history that Blair feels on his shoulder has shoved him rudely onto a different track; a track that I, as a patriotic Englishman, find most agreeable and one that I could scarcely have conceived of on September 10th 2001.

8 comments to Realpolitik for the British

  • It appears that we have similar viewpoints on opposite sides of the Atlantic. My post at Weekend Pundit takes a different look in to some of the issues concerning Iraq, September 11th, etc., but comes up with similar conclusions. Included is the observation that Britain and the E.U. appear to be unlikely bedfellows, and that Britain’s interests lie almost anyplace but with the E.U.

  • The only way it will be in the British interest to some is if an Iraq backed terrorist blows the shit out of some city in the UK. Likewise they only way the Euro-wennies are going to support anything is if they are directly affected.

  • Crosbie

    Isn’t this a false dichotomy?

    Do we really need to choose between between the American Federal Government and a European federal government? Why can we just sit this one out?

    I think that to accept a dangerous state scheme just to head off some other dangerous state scheme will only guarantee more scheming by the state. Was it not accepting ‘right wing’ scheming to head off the ‘left wing’ scheming, and sometimes vice-versa, which gave the state much of its present power?

    The true choice is that our tax-funded politicians:

    a) Wage a war
    b) Build a super-state
    c) Do absolutely nothing

    ‘c’ sounds good to me most of the time.

  • But, Crosbie, they won’t choose C and you know it, regardless of how choiceworthy C might be by itself. A is less bad, both by itself and, here’s the key point I think Mr. Carr was getting at, because it makes C more likely in the future.

  • David Carr


    Sometimes masterful inactivity is, indeed, the best course. But not here. For thirty years, some two-thirds of our political class has been beavering away at the task of dissolving this country while the rest of us took option ‘c’ and look where it’s got us!!

    Besides, I argued for maintaining our strategic alliance with the USA not being run by Federal government in Washington. The two concepts are not even close to being the same thing.

  • Tom Grey

    You should read a fantastic article (-Tom):

    Power and Weakness

    By Robert Kagan

    Originally published in the June/July edition of Policy Review

    It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power – the efficacy of power, the morality of power, the desirability of power – American and European perspectives are diverging. Europe is turning away from power, or to put it a little differently, it is moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation. It is entering a post-historical paradise of peace and relative prosperity, the realization of Kant’s “Perpetual Peace.” The United States, meanwhile, remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable and where true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might. That is why on major strategic and international questions today, Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus: They agree on little and understand one another less and less. And this state of affairs is not transitory – the product of one American election or one catastrophic event. The reasons for the transatlantic divide are deep, long in development, and likely to endure. When it comes to setting national priorities, determining threats, defining challenges, and fashioning and implementing foreign and defense policies, the United States and Europe have parted ways. …

  • Daniel

    In reply to Andrew Ian Dodge’s comment it si true that many Britons and Europeans will only feel directly threatened if a European target is attacked. But is this surprising? America was attacked because of America’s foreign policy. European states were not attacked because they have not followed America.

    It is not in Britain’s interest to attack Iraq or indeed to give the US any visable active support in their ‘war against terror’ because to do so makes us a target when we were not one before and makes an attack as you described vastly more likely.


  • Hadrian Wise

    Leaders are not damaged by wars, however unpopular initially, when those wars are won quickly & easily – & the odds are that the Iraqi war will be just such a war. Blair was not damaged by Kosovo, despite widespread public scepticism, & I doubt he will be damaged by Iraq. It is more likely that he will acquire a statesmanlike glimmer as he tells the public, “I told you it would be all right,” something he will use to full effect in the Euro campaign. I fear that Blair is far too fanatical about the Euro to do anything to impede Britain’s entry.

    Remember also that “The Americans want us to be closer to Europe” is one of the few Euro-fanatical cliches to have any truth in it.