conflict zones, latest, Russia, UK
Comments 27

Britain’s Incorrigible Warmongering Towards Russia

by Finian Cunningham, via Strategic Culture

The long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq War (2003-2011) was published in July with much criticism leveled at the government under prime minister Tony Blair. There seems to be a national consensus that Britain’s war on Iraq is now a cause of deep shame and that future British governments should be chastened from embarking on similar warmongering.

On the contrary, however, Britain’s strident role in pushing NATO’s aggression towards Russia – again on the basis of trumped-up «intelligence» claims, as with its earlier invasion of Iraq – shows in fact that nothing has been learnt from the Chilcot Inquiry. Britain, shamefully, remains an incorrigibly belligerent state that acts as if it is above international law.

It remains to be seen if the new British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson can bring some sanity to Britain’s anti-Russia policy that was pushed by David Cameron and Philip Hammond. Hammond’s slavish following of Washington’s hostile agenda was particularly baleful. The outlook does not seem promising as can be gleaned from the systemic nature of British pro-Washington’s conduct, as revealed by the long-running Iraq imbroglio.

Sir John Chilcot, who led the seven-year official inquiry into the Iraq war, said the central question it addressed was whether the war was necessary. It concluded that the war was not necessary. Diplomatic options were not exhausted, it said, adding that the decision to go to war was based on flawed claims of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq posing an imminent threat.

Chilcot’s report was not constituted to be a legal examination of the war or the British government’s decision to join the American-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. So the question of whether Blair or his government acted criminally did not arise under the parameters of the inquiry.

Nevertheless, the findings are certainly potentially damning and could form the case for a future prosecution. If Blair’s claims made in 2002 and 2003 that Saddam could launch weapons of mass destruction «within 45 minutes» were, according to Chilcot, «not justified» then that raises prosecutable issues that the former premier misled his nation and parliament into voting for an «unnecessary war».

Blair’s secret memo to US President George W Bush in 2002 that he would follow his policy «whatever» also indicates that the decision to go to war was political and pre-ordained, regardless of the intelligence facts, as Chilcot’s report indicates. That provides additional grounds for future prosecution.

The British inquiry, which was set up by Blair’s prime ministerial successor Gordon Brown in 2009 and is estimated to have cost £10 million ($13 million), goes a long way to vindicate many anti-war campaigners who have consistently accused Blair of being an indictable war criminal. Families of British servicemen killed during the occupation of Iraq reacted to the Chilcot report with angry demands for Blair to be held to account for his disastrous decision to go to war.

For his part, Blair continues to maintain that he «acted in good faith» and «for the best interests of the country».

Despite Blair’s assertions of probity, there is wide public acceptance, following the Chilcot report, that Britain’s invasion of Iraq was an unmitigated catastrophe. Not only were scores of British lives lost needlessly, but Iraqi society was destroyed with the loss of perhaps more than one million people. The legacy of regional terrorism is greater than ever and it was spawned by Blair and Bush’s war, as Chilcot explicitly noted.

Today, many Britons recognize that their country’s international standing and foreign policy has been fatally marred by the war. It has been described as the worst setback for Britain’s international image since the fiasco of the Suez Crisis in 1956 when Britain (and France) were defeated by Egypt’s Nasser. Sixty years on, that latter debacle still haunts Britain’s establishment, as it is seen to have marked the precipitous decline of Britain as a colonial world power.

Sir John Chilcot said of his report just prior to publication that its lessons will serve to check future British governments from launching reckless wars. He said the central lesson of the report would be that «it will not be possible in the future to engage in a military or indeed a diplomatic endeavor on such a scale and such gravity without careful challenge analysis and assessment and collective political judgement being applied to it».

The British official double-think is staggering. Amid solemn expiations over Iraq and calls for future restraint on matters of war, this same country is one of the main advocates for military build-up by the NATO alliance in Eastern Europe against alleged Russian aggression.

Britain’s former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who is now the finance minister in May’s new cabinet, as well as Britain’s military leaders sound like broken records with their repeated claims that Russia is a threat to Europe’s security. One British general has even predicted that a nuclear war could break out with Russia in the next year. Hammond’s successor at the foreign office, Boris Johnson, will be worth listening to closely to discern if there is any change in attitude towards Russia. It is doubtful.

The comparison with Iraq could not be more bitterly ironic. British claims of Russian aggression are based on the same «flawed» or «politicized» intelligence, which is likewise used to whip up a media frenzy that justifies warmongering. British troops are prominent in the unprecedented NATO build-up currently underway in Poland and the Baltic states.

Russia’s Defence Ministry has denounced the NATO escalation as «hysterical Russophobia» that is based on negligible evidence of Russian threat, and solely on tendentious and highly disputable claims by Washington, London and other Western governments that Moscow «annexed» Crimea in 2014. The same goes for Western claims of alleged Russian «invasion» of Eastern Ukraine. No proof has ever been presented, only sensational claims keenly peddled by Western news media outlets.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that NATO claims of Russia’s imminent invasion of Easter Europe are «detached from reality».

Of course, proof of purported Russian malfeasance is not the real issue. What is important is the relentless propaganda narrative of Russia as security threat, which in turn is used to justify NATO expansionism and the flow of lucrative arms sales for Washington and London.

Ahead of the NATO summit in Poland on July 8-9 it was reported that Warsaw is to buy the US Patriot missile system «to deter Russian aggression» – with a price tag of $5.6 billion. The maker is US firm Raytheon, which is one of the biggest lobbyists in Washington, among other Pentagon-connected companies.

The danger from NATO’s provocative militarism on Russia’s border and from Russia’s legitimate counter defense measures is that an all-out war is not only a combustible risk, any conflict would likely spiral into a nuclear one. The risk of World War III is not hyperbole, with nuclear weapon destructive power thousand-folds greater than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Britain’s government, military and media establishments share onerous responsibility for the grave deterioration in relations between NATO and Russia.

One would think that the death and destruction wrought on Iraq by Britain might serve as a check on its belligerence towards Russia. Especially given that the consequences of a war with Russia would be inestimably greater than the abomination that was Iraq.

No, not a bit of it. In essence, Britain remains an unreconstructed, unapologetic, belligerent rogue state that behaves beyond the rule of law. It is a repeat-offender without ever being prosecuted. It has learnt nothing from Iraq, despite the pious claims of the Chilcot Inquiry.

That is why British political leaders, like Tony Blair, and their aides should be prosecuted to the full extent of international law. Warmongering governments that are unaccountable will continue to be warmongering governments, as the present British-NATO aggression towards Russia proves. (Same for the Americans, of course.)

If Tony Blair, over Iraq and Afghanistan, and David Cameron, over Libya, were put in the dock of a war crimes trial the chances are that present and future British governments would be a lot less gung-ho and incorrigible in their reckless trashing of law.

The real lesson from the Chilcot Inquiry is the imperative need to apply the rule of law and prosecute war crimes. Then, future wars might at last be avoided.

British citizens should mobilize even more strenuously to demand that. The present international legal structures might not be amenable. The International Criminal Court in The Hague said following Chilcot’s publication that it has «no jurisdiction» over Britain’s war on Iraq or in regard to Blair’s conduct in particular. Why not? The ICC shows no such reluctance when going after African alleged war criminals.

Still, British citizens should push their own justice system to act accordingly given the new evidence of the Chilcot Inquiry. If they think Iraq was a catastrophe, how much more cataclysmic would be a war with Russia? A war that its leaders are once again recklessly agitating for.

Finian Cunningham is a former editor and writer for major news media organizations. He has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages.

27 Comments

  1. Mick McNulty says

    I think Hillary will start the first [and last] war that kills a billion…perhaps half of humanity…and it will set the survivors back 5,000 years. At least the US will be remembered in folklore which will be passed down verbally; a race of cruel, covetous and murderous men across the sea whose flying machines sent death across the world in huge fireballs.

    Something like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric_B says

    The Russian invasion of East Ukraine is very unusual.

    It’s simultaneously unstoppable, glacially slow and extremely ineffective.

    Like

  3. Chris Foot says

    There is, of course, the possibility that Blair was paid by Bush. Paul Craig Roberts has revealed that in order to get world leaders on side the US pays them vast amounts of money. Tony Blair wasn’t a multi-millionaire before he left Parliament, he is now. It would be nice to know what B & B talked about during Tony’s visit to Bushe’s ranch one year before the Iraq war; was it tactics or was it cash.

    Like

    • Eric_B says

      Politicians are bought and paid for by the simple expedient of paying them millions to drone on giving so-called ‘lectures’.

      Like

      • J Garbo says

        Too true. What could Hillary possibly say that’s worth $350,000 per hour? Except, “You’ll get back double when I’m POTUS.” Bribery by any other name is worth as much.

        Like

  4. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

    Many Brits condemn the illegal war against Iraq but most turn a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians, ethnic Russians and the Muslims who continue to suffer under an oppressive and aggressive NATO policy as orchestrated by the US and UK governments.

    Like

  5. rtj1211 says

    Well, I guess if UK journalists realised that they would be encouraged by Russian enforcers to take ‘unregulated flying lessons’, rather like recalcitrant bankers in Canary Wharf, then maybe they would temper their lying…….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Russia’s Defence Ministry has denounced the NATO escalation as «hysterical Russophobia» that is based on negligible evidence of Russian threat, and solely on tendentious and highly disputable claims by Washington, London and other Western governments that Moscow «annexed» Crimea in 2014.” That phrasing suggests that it might be true that Russia improperly annexed Crimea. There is no doubt, when the facts are looked at, that Russia did ‘not’ improperly annex Crimea. The vast majority of Crimean residents voted in the referendum to determine whether to re-join Russia and the vast majority of those who voted voted to rejoin Russia.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The vast majority of Crimeans would vote exactly the same way again today & the West knows it very well indeed.

      The truth is that the vast majority of Ukrainians East of Bandera’s Lvov would vote to join Russia !!!

      Kharkov to Odessa including Kiev, if democracy ruled, would be happier in Russia than in the current “dog’s dinner” Yankistan Oligarchy that Obama & Merkel have served up.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. John says

    It is not correct to say ‘… the fiasco of the Suez Crisis in 1956 when Britain (and France) were defeated by Egypt’s Nasser. Sixty years on, that latter debacle still haunts Britain’s establishment, as it is seen to have marked the precipitous decline of Britain as a colonial world power.’
    What actually happened was that US President Eisenhower (who had not been forewarned of the joint Israeli-French-British invasion of the Suez Canal Zone) was furious when he learned about it and he immediately telephoned then Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan and threatened to withdraw US financial support for the Pound Sterling.
    This would have led to a complete collapse of the UK economy.
    As a result, then Prime Minister Anthony Eden resigned and Harold Macmillan took over as UK Prime Minister.
    The incident certainly proved that Britain was no longer a true world power but the “defeat” was not at the hands of Nasser but at the hands of an anti-imperialist US President Eisenhower.
    It is interesting that Finian Cunningham did not mention the involvement of Israel in the escapade. Why is that?
    As far as Blair is concerned, it has emerged that he agreed to support Bush’s invasion up to a year ahead of the invasion during a visit to Bush’s ranch in the USA. Consequently, two massive protest marches in London ended up being completely ignored as Blair felt unable to back out from his personal commitment to Bush to support the illegal invasion of Iraq.
    The “intelligence” supplied by both the Bush and Blair administrations to “justify” invading Iraq was patently false but the likelihood is that neither of them will ever stand in the dock of any court anywhere in the world, more is the pity!
    As for all the Russophobic drum beating, I am sure that arms sales has more to do with that than any real intention to wage war against Russia. That could lead to immense destruction and the considerable loss of profits all round.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve said many times – Russophobia is not about war as the West cannot win its ONLY about making money from taxpayer idiots who are like rabbits in headlights & can’t vote for leaders with a moral compass !

      Liked by 1 person

      • I doubt it’s “only” about any one thing. Yes, NATO is a wealth-transfer engine, just like most other corporate or governmental institutions, but the situation is exceedingly complex, with competing factions in the US warring internally. Some of these factions really do view some kind of war with Russia as a sort of Divine Destiny (because they are lunatics). Others see such a war as potentially lucrative and winnable (because they are idiots). Other factions dread the idiots and lunatics but think they can ride on their backs a certain way while preventing too much excess. Still others want no part of any of it but lack the will to do much about it. Membership of the factions tends to overlap and shift over time.

        The trouble is the anti-russ narrative offers apparent benefits to such a broad swathe of the western political class that there’s little effective opposition to the push for war from the lunatic fringe, and in such instances war can just happen, despite the fact very few people really want it.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. reinertorheit says

    Today, many Britons recognize that their country’s international standing and foreign policy has been fatally marred by the war.

    As if.

    They’re dahn the take-away, pickin’ up a triple portion of chicken nuggets in spicy Thai sauce, to rush home and veg out in front of another episode of Downton or Game of Drones.

    They couldn’t find Iraq on a map if was actually marked in red. They remain convinced there were WMD there, but they don’t actually know where ‘there’ really is. They think Pashtuns are a brand of shoe, and that Kashmir is a wool you make jumpers from.

    They are insulated and protected from any sense of culpability or shame by their pig-ignorance, illiteracy, and tub-thumping jingoism.

    Here are Britain’s public-school thugs at play

    Liked by 1 person

    • wardropper says

      I like your comment – I agree with it in principle too, but the example you chose to show “Britain’s public-school thugs at play” really shows something else.
      It shows perfectly ordinary people who can hold a tune having a good sing with a magnificent orchestral accompaniment, and singing a great tune composed by Edward Elgar, who actually found it abhorrent that this jingoistic text was set to his rather thrilling and purely musical creation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • reinertorheit says

        Elgar was an unpleasant imperialist racist, whose works belong in the dustbin of history.

        He composed an ‘oratorio’ called Crown Of India – which required all the (white) performers to black up as ‘Indians’, who then sang choruses of praise to the British king on stage, and thanked him for coming to rule over them!!!

        Elgar’s music for this trash is his usual pompous tub-thumping twaddle. It can’t be excused for being a ‘product of its time’.

        Liked by 2 people

        • wardropper says

          The pseudonym, “reinertorheit”, hardly qualifies its owner to judge artistic excellence, or to what extent it is avoidable for people to be “products of their time”.
          “reinertorheit” is clearly also a product of his time:
          1. Doesn’t read comments properly: “Elgar, who actually found it abhorrent that this jingoistic text was set to his music” hardly fits in with an imperialistic racist.
          2. Nothing in Elgar’s difficult life indicates that there was anything remotely “unpleasant” about his nature, yet he is here subjected to an unusually unpleasant dismissal of all that he achieved.
          3. Quote from Music Web International about Crown of India: “…it is what would have been expected at the time. However, the composer was not overly impressed with the political tone of the words but was able to see the possibilities it presented for producing a colourful score. Elgar was able to cut a number of the worst parts of the text and began composing the music and falling back on mining some earlier works and sketches as he did so.”
          4. Of course you are perfectly free to call Elgar whatever names you wish, and to call his music pompous tub-thumping twaddle too, but it CAN be excused for being a product of its time, just as I excuse you for being one.
          In any case, Elgar had mastered his craft purely as music, whatever one may like, or dislike, about the texts and occasions involved (and I DO dislike most of those – probably as much as you do – nor do I like everything which he composed), but there are moments and whole works which are worth waiting a lifetime getting to know, and that’s why he survives. Nobody would have any time for him at all, if your description was the end of the matter.

          Like

          • reinertorheit says

            Oh i say, how jolly spiffing!! You managed to make a joke about my screen name! Top hole, that man! I say! As if you would know from whose work my screen name is a citation?

            There is a reason Elgar’s cowpat compositions remain on the parochial sidelines of music, and he is only ever played in his native land….

            Still, it’s time for the interval now, so you start thinking up ‘witty’ things to call to the Prommers down in the Arena, eh? Or shouting “heave, ho!” if someone moves a piano by four feet.

            “Music Web” is a site written by unpaid amateurs – and it shows.

            Keep waving your jolly old Union Jack, eh?

            Liked by 1 person

            • wardropper says

              Of course I know where “Der reine Tor” comes from, but, okay, you win. I give up. Your assumptions about me and about Elgar are quite unjustified, yet you clearly think you’re entitled in some way to make those assumptions, so just go ahead.
              From your recent comments, I COULD assume that you are dressed in pink socks, a black and yellow striped shirt and a tattoo on your forehead saying, “I like disagreeing with pretty much everybody in an unpleasant manner”, but, guess what …? I would NOT be surprised to discover that I was wrong.
              You, on the other hand, would be very surprised to discover what sort of person I am, or Elgar too for that matter, except that you can’t be bothered.
              Spewing prejudiced comments is much easier, isn’t it?
              I could also assume that your name means that you are a Wagner freak, but I am educated enough to know that those who despise Wagner may also find it jolly amusing to use a quote from him in their pseudonymic identity.
              I have even outlined where I agree with you, but that isn’t good enough for you either, so here’s an assumption for you: You are a troublemaker, and clearly annoyed that you have been found out for making opinionated comments based on wilful ignorance of logic, facts and cultural purpose.
              Conversations like this never lead anywhere, so I’ll stop here, and subject myself to the likelihood of being accused of having no answer your superior philosophy. It’s worth the risk.

              Liked by 1 person

              • reinertorheit says

                Of course I know where “Der reine Tor” comes from,

                Clearly you don’t, wanker.

                <

                blockquote> I COULD assume that you are dressed in pink socks, a black and yellow striped shirt and a tattoo on your forehead<‘blockquote>

                And you clearly do, because you’re a flagwaving UKIP loony.

                I am leaving this conversation now, because I don’t associate with far-right tub-thumping arseholes in real life, and I have no intention of doing so here either. Go and listen to your crappy Elgar, moron. Get your jackboots on, and goosestep round your bedroom in Penge – dreaming of the days when tossers like you still had an Empire to rule, and you could lord it over your dusky minions.

                If only you could read a note of music, your opinions on Elgar would retain at least minimal credibility. But in lieu of musical education, you’re just a Thatcherite loony with leather elbow-patches.

                Like

                • @reinertorheit. Your abusive language is becoming so excessive I’m starting to think you are either not well or are deliberately trying to seed antagonism.

                  Wardropper has said absolutely NOTHING to justify this lunatic rant. Did you fail to notice he actually agreed with your original point but simply demurred over your description of the Proms and of Elgar as being racist jingoism? Your response is entirely unjustifiable in any sane terms.

                  Either you are lacking all judgement and self-control or your aim is to be disruptive, distracting and alienating. If the former, take some time, level out and come back in a better state of mind. if the latter – be gone.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • wardropper says

                  I was wondering whether I had landed on the wrong site for a day or two there … My gratitude to those who have supported me in the face of a most unexpected hailstorm of abuse for not falling to my knees and agreeing 100% with a certain comment, but only 95% …
                  The perpetrator clearly makes a career out of abuse – a quick google can confirm that – and I think Catte’s first diagnosis is the correct one: He is “not well”. (Somehow I doubt that another conceivable excuse like, “he is only a teenager”, would adequately cover the ground …)
                  Now that I’ve got that behind me, I very much look forward to getting back to focusing seriously on the excellent articles I have found here, and I promise to try not to be so easily distracted in future … : ) Heaven knows none of us has time for name calling when there is so much to be done.

                  Like

            • wardropper says

              Oh, and of course Music Web was quoting from a person who clearly listens to music with a discriminating ear, which is by no means the exclusive domain of “paid professionals” in any case.

              Liked by 1 person

              • reinertorheit says

                Thank you for the ‘like’ on my posting on another topic. I owe you an apology over Elgar. I am sure there are aspects to his music I fail to appreciate – it’s just that his soupy “Imperial” style (and to be fair, he did indeed give “imperial” titles to his music, not just Crown of India) makes my blood pressure rise.

                Each to his own, anyhow, and I hope you continue to enjoy Sir Edward’s output.

                BTW, it was Nietzsche who coined the term “Reiner Torheit”, to mock his former ally Wagner – after he fell out of love with Der Meister’s music following the premiere of Parsifal, So greatly was poor old Nietzsche enraged by Parsifal – although probably primarily for religious content, which he found unacceptable as an atheist – that he dedicated an entire book – The Wagner Case aka ‘Contra Wagner” in German to a takedown of his erstwhile hero. It has to be said that while Nietzsche is still read on university courses, Wagner came out of the tiff rather better. No-one holds an annual Nietzsche Festival with 300-euro tickets and a waiting list of 3 years, after all. Yet despite its splenetic tone (even more splenetic, ehem, than mine…) The Wagner Case does have some interesting points to make. Sadly Nietzsche was in severe mental decline at the time he wrote it, and was subsequently committed to an asylum.

                Elgar, of course, faced no such polemicists….

                Like

  9. Brian Harry, Australia says

    The time has come for the USA and Britain to ‘weed out’ the Neocon/Zionist influence inside both governments. They cause nothing but trouble, and seem to hold both countries in some kind of “sleeper hold” so that they pursue policies that are NOT in the interest of the host country.

    Liked by 1 person

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