Middle East, UK
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Esposti: “Imperialist fantasies: UK policy and the bloody legacy of Iraq”

Emmanuela Eposti, at the Middle East Monitor, suggests that there is a serious disconnect between UK public opinion and the damaging foreign policy pursued by its political leaders.


In a recent article for the London Review of Books entitled “The new world disorder”, Tariq Ali argues that “[t]he occupation of Iraq [was] one of the most destructive acts of modern history… Iraq was treated as no other country has been treated before.” The significance of the Iraq war – and Britain’s role within it – continues to haunt both domestic and foreign policy in the US, and has arguably been part of a wider strategy aimed at “the disintegration of the Middle East”. As the UK election looms, it is worth reflecting on the various policies and strategies adopted towards the region by the different parties vying for power, especially as, in the words of the previous head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller: “[the UK’s] involvement in Iraq has radicalised, for want of a better word, a whole generation.

[ . . . ]

Public opinion regarding military intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere is also waning, and in 2013 a poll conducted jointly by the Guardian and ICM found that 48 per cent of respondents believed that military interventions “solve little, create enemies and generally do more harm than good”. In the same year, YouGov found that support for the Iraq war had fallen from 53 per cent in 2003 to a mere 27 per cent – a significant statistical drop.

But it is not just the phantom of Iraq that continues to haunt British foreign and domestic policy, but the legacy of the Blair years has resonance beyond the bloody borders of war-torn Middle Eastern states. What Blair brought to British politics, and what David Cameron has continued to pursue after him, is a worldview that pits the US and Britain against the rest, and in which lack of compliance or due reverence results in a swift and merciless response. Within this new world order – or rather, the new reign of “disorder and chaos” that Blair promised in his 2003 speech calling for intervention in Iraq – Britain is the faithful sidekick to the US, which exerts its various forms of soft and hard power unassailably across the entire globe as it sees fit. Despite all its fantasies of re-asserting its imperial dominance, Britain has become little more than a vassal state for American power; a convenient rest-stop on the way to Europe and the Middle East in the US’s path to global dominance.

Emphasis added.  Read more at Middle East Monitor

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