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Posted April 6, 2005
Very useful study of the iniquities of British foreign policy
Curtis has based his excellent new book on considerable research in the National Archive, especially the newly available government documents from the early 1970s. He shows how British governments backed coups in British Guyana, Oman, Idi Amin in Uganda and Pinochet in Chile. He shows how Labour backed the US aggression against Vietnam, tore up the Geneva Agreement, supported every escalation, opposed every effort at negotiation, used the SAS and MI6, gave military training and sold arms. Now Labour backs Nepal¿s king, who has dismissed the elected government and postponed elections indefinitely. It aids and trains his forces, which have a far worse human rights record than the resistance. Labour backs the Obasanjo tyranny in Nigeria, which has killed at least 2,200 people (far more killed than in Zimbabwe, for instance), but Nigeria has yielded $300 billion worth of oil over the last few decades. Labour backs the Colombian government, a drug-dealing tyranny which has killed tens of thousands pretending that it is warring on drugs. British firms are the country¿s largest investors, at $10 billion. BP has invested $2 billion and controls half Colombia¿s oil output. Labour backs Sharon¿s plan for permanently occupying the West Bank, which tears up all the UN Resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw from the illegally occupied territories. Labour doubled its arms exports to Israel in 2001-02 ¿ machine guns, rifles, tear gas, leg irons, electric shock belts, and parts for tanks, helicopters and F-16 planes. It abstained in the UN vote declaring Israel¿s wall illegal. Curtis proves with a wealth of examples that the key features of the current war on Iraq are endemic and typical of Britain¿s ruling class: ¿in particular: the violation of international law, the government¿s abuse of the UN, its deception of the public and its support for US aggression.¿ Only the incompetence of this government is unusual: their lies were so bad that we rumbled them. As the House of Commons Defence Committee reported approvingly in March 2004, the Ministry of Defence¿s ¿media strategy ¿ was an integral part of the overall military plan.¿ The Foreign Office¿s London-based `public diplomacy¿ cost £340 million a year. The Army says it must keep `moral as well as information dominance¿. `Embedding¿ journalists ¿helped secure public opinion in the UK.¿ British land force commander General Brims said, ¿none of them let the side down.¿ Curtis sums up Labour¿s policy, in alliance with NATO and the EU: ¿first, Britain is deepening its support for state terrorism in a number of countries; second, unprecedented plans are being developed to increase Britain¿s ability to intervene militarily around the world; third, the government is increasing its state propaganda operations, directed towards the British public; and fourth, Whitehall¿s planners have in effect announced they are no longer bound by international law.¿ Curtis¿ book is a slashing indictment of a ruling class in decline, ever more at odds with what British society needs and wants, ever more interventionist abroad. However, the right response is not a `global justice movement¿, a rootless internationalism, but workers¿ nationalism seizing real democracy, as in Cuba.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.