Instead of calling for a more “independent” foreign policy, Jeremy Corbyn should simply admit that he hates America and wants Britain to sever links with our closest ally
Jeremy Corbyn took to Facebook over the weekend to demand that Britain chart a new, more “independent” foreign policy.
This came off the back of a speech that Corbyn had wanted to deliver last week blasting Britain’s close alliance with America, but was forced to postpone because of the Paris terror attacks.
Corbyn finally gave the speech he was itching to give at the Labour Party’s South West Region conference in Bristol, where he said:
The third pillar of our vision for Britain is a different kind of foreign policy – based on a new and more independent relationship with the rest of the world. A relationship where war is a last resort.
For the past 14 years, Britain has been at the centre of a succession of disastrous wars that have brought devastation to large parts of the wider Middle East. They have increased, not diminished, the threats to our own national security.
Few would now seriously argue that Western interventions in Iraq and Libya did anything other than deplete our resources and further inflame the region. But Corbyn’s professed desire for a “more independent relationship with the rest of the world” is pure nonsense.
Jeremy Corbyn does not want Britain to pursue a more “independent” foreign policy. He is simply unhappy with our existing foreign policy and allegiances – where Britain recognises the many shared mutual interests we have with the Anglosphere and other Western powers, and seeks to build on those natural alliances which inevitably form where there is such a close fit of culture, history and legal systems.
If Jeremy Corbyn really wanted Britain to pursue a truly independent foreign policy, his first act as Labour leader would not have been to cravenly roll over and submit to the rabid europhiles within his party, who insisted that he follow their lead and slavishly promise to campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union come what may.
This decision is all the more surprising given Corbyn’s subsequent willingness to enrage his own backbenchers – and even his shadow cabinet – on almost every other question, from air strikes on Syria to hiring controversial and divisive staff and flip-flopping on George Osborne’s fiscal charter. Clearly Jeremy Corbyn is happy walk his own path on nearly every policy other than the pressing question of Britain’s future sovereignty.
How can Corbyn claim to want Britain to pursue an “independent” foreign policy when he has committed Britain to remaining in the EU and being part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy? How can Britain claim to be an independent diplomatic force when the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, is more active and visible on the world stage than our own Foreign Secretary?
You can argue the rights and wrongs of whether Britain should pool so much of our diplomatic clout into a single European voice – over which we exert only 1/28th of the influence. But the one thing you absolutely cannot do with a straight face is to call the resulting foreign policy an independent one.
But of course Corbyn does not really want Britain to pursue a truly independent foreign policy. What he really means by this dog-whistle to Stop the War types and extremism sympathisers is that he wants Britain to specifically forsake the United States of America, and cease our friendship and co-operation with our closest ally in the world.
Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t look at the special relationship between Britain and America and see an unparalleled alliance which spilled blood and treasure in defence of democracy twice in the last century, and whose embrace of the free market has pointed the way for other nations around the world to achieve prosperity.
No, Jeremy Corbyn looks at the special relationship and sees Britain yoked against her will to the Great Satan – an awful, dystopian, capitalist war machine, economically and militarily subjugating the countries which Corbyn would much rather call his friends. He sees no good in the United States because his “friends” in Hamas, Stop the War and the far Left in general spend every waking hour ranting about just how evil and immoral America is.
Yet on Europe, Corbyn is firm: Britain should remain a member of this relentlessly tightening political union come what may – regardless of David Cameron’s cosmetic renegotiation, and regardless of the direction the EU is heading in the future. The Labour leader succumbs to the same negative, pessimistic view of Britain’s capabilities and international stature as the other europhiles, believing that Britain is too pathetic and ineffectual to do what Australia and Canada manage to do every day – engage with the world as an independent nation.
Jeremy Corbyn’s foreign policy simultaneously views Britain as being so weak and pathetic that our only pathway to influence on the world stage is to have the same sliver of influence over a common European Union foreign policy as tiny Malta or Slovenia, but also so potentially dangerous to the world that we must terminate the one alliance which has been the bedrock of our foreign policy since the second world war.
It is a risible, childlike worldview – one which would be funny if only a Corbyn premiership would not see Britain giving moral and tangible succour to some of the most odious regimes in the world.
Corbyn is right to point out our own moral failures in foreign policy, such as our close partnership with the brutal Saudi regime, working closely with that dictatorship in exchange for scraps of intelligence about the various terror plots that they are themselves funding and encouraging. But he undermines his own point by letting his actions and statements imply that there is any moral equivalence between regimes like Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Or as Nick Cohen put it in this week’s Spectator:
Corbyn, along with too much of ‘progressive opinion’, has a mistrust bordering on hatred for western powers. They do not just condemn the West for its crimes, which are frequent enough. They are ‘Occidentalists’, to use the jargon: people who see the West as the ‘root cause’ of all evil.
Their ideology is in turn genuinely rootless. They have no feeling for the best traditions of their country, and their commitments to the victims of foreign oppression are shallow and insincere. They rightly condemn western support for Saudi Arabia. But if the Saudis were to become the West’s enemy tomorrow, their opposition would vanish like dew in the morning sun.
Jeremy Corbyn and the left he comes from cannot campaign for office by saying what they really think or they would horrify the bulk of the population. They say enough to keep their ‘base’ happy, and then dodge and twist when they speak to the rest of us. Far from being authentic, Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most dishonest politicians you will see in your lifetime.
If Jeremy Corbyn wants to be taken seriously as a straight-talking, honest politician he should admit that he has absolutely no desire for Britain to pursue an independent foreign policy – or an independent anything else, for that matter – and that all of this posturing is just his way of signalling to a certain audience that he disapproves of one country in particular.
Jeremy Corbyn: Anti-Austerity, Anti-America.
That’s a campaign slogan people might actually believe.
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