By ‘national interest’ I do not mean such grandly aspirational aims as world peace and democracy. I mean that which directly relates to the wealth, security and liberty of the British people. For instance, the fate of the Croats or Bosnians or Kosovars in the 1990s, or any of the peoples of Africa today, can hardly be said to be directly related to our own prosperity and security; nor, for that matter, can the condition of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein, or the Afghan people under the Taleban. ~Correlli Barnett, The Spectator
It is always encouraging to see the writings of Conservatives who are weary of the ‘special relationship’ and the inane prattle of the last several Tory leaders on foreign affairs. The author’s remarks reflect the deeply held bitterness of many Conservatives at the overt role of lackey their nation has been made to play over the past several years, as well as a much broader dissatisfaction in Britain with the illegal war in Iraq.
This enjoyable article comes, alas, only to alert Tories that their new, vacuous leader, David Cameron, will offer more of the same poor leadership, and perhaps even intensify the worst aspects of Tory moral, political and ‘intellectual’ dependence on the GOP for guidance on policy, especially foreign policy. Mr. Cameron is in a position to reorient the Conservative Party on Iraq and the relationship with America, but it has clearly become the case that the only British politicians more keen to toady and abase themselves before the whims of Mr. Bush and the Washington establishment generally than Mr. Blair have been the last three Tory leaders. Mr. Cameron promises to extend this streak to four.
British independence and the assertion of its own self-interest in competition with or to the exclusion of American hegemonist goals would be met in America with the pained cries of betrayal and hatred that greeted the French and Germans in 2002, only in the case of Britain the resulting backlash would be all the more intense because it would come from a party believed to be more reliably “pro-American” (i.e., supine and weak-willed). It would take a courageous man to go up against the combined interests of Tory Atlanticists, the City and its minions in the press and Washington all at once. Mr. Cameron, however, appears to be little more than an empty suit.