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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Forget 'liberty' think advantage

Heffer's piece in the Telegraph today makes a plea for us not to allow our hearts to rule our heads over Libya or anywhere else. Maintaining national competitive advantage is going to be critical over the next few years, and foreign policy decisions must be made on the basis of outcomes that enhance ours. Thus from Libya what we want from the ruling regime is simple;

1. Free access to oil on open markets with contracts honoured
2. A dam of the African drift North into Europe
3. No haven for Jihadists

Gadaffi, mad as a bucket of eels though he is, generally obliged. There is no guarantee that the insurgents will. Therefore our foreign policy should be to make a lot of ambiguous noise and high-flown rhetoric about saving lives, humanitarian objectives and the like but do nothing to displace the devil we know until an alternative that will cede the three points above emerges. 

As much as my heart wants to see the dictators fall in Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Kuwait, it must be the job of government, and of the Foreign Secretary, to take a far more pragmatic and self-interested view.


Gordo said...

Agreed. Not worth one single British life to set up a sham democracy for these people. They need dictators like Saddam or Gaddafi to keep them in line.

If they want help we can sent them back all their ethnic brothers and sisters that are enriching these islands at the moment.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

This is wisdom, thank you.

The bones of a Pomeranian grenadier come to mind.

It actually looks as if we may end up with a pragmatic outcome - Gaddafi still there, somewhat chastened, and we haven't shat the nest by meddling, but perhaps only because we no longer have the means to do so.

Good result for many wrong reasons, perhaps. One can hope.

lilith said...

Bashar Assad is very popular with his people, especially the young.

Anonymous said...

Realpolitik, agreed, distasteful though it is.

Fantana said...

Excellent comment (again). Worth more than a handful of Telegraph/Times leaders.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you cut through the crap and get on with the real issues. Yes we should be protectionist.

Replacing one despotic dictator for a government of alternatine despotic, islamist dictators will produce a very unpopular outome.

Think about history. Think about Rhodesia and Zimbabwe. Think about Burma and Myanmar. Think about Persia and Iran. I could go on.

Coney Island

English Pensioner said...

Our diplomats and Foreign Office have forgotten deviousness, double-dealing and all the other tricks of the trade which they employed in the days of the Empire. The sooner they start learning how to work for the best interests of Britain and no-one else, the better. And at the same time tell as few people what they are doing as absolutely necessary, else someone will pass it to Wikileaks!
They should work on the simple assumption that they can trust no-one and agreements reached with people such as Gadaffi and the like are worth no more than Chamberlain's Munich Agreement back in 1939, "Peace in our time"!