The Corner

Derb’s Gloom

Derb, I’m with John O’S in my memories of the feelings in London at the time of the Falklands war. At times there was indeed a real sense of jingo, sometimes literally so. To take one example, I remember seeing a tee shirt sell well in my local street market (Islington borders, before gentrification). Its design – John Bull with a club and a cowering Latin American despot. The Slogan? Falklands: The Empire Strikes Back. Splendid.

As for Britain selling the Turkish Cypriots and other unfortunates down the river. We could debate the rights and wrongs of each individual case, but it looks to me as if you are letting notions of morality (Derb, how could you?) interfere with your perception as to how a nation’s foreign policy should be run. A country’s foreign policy ought to be determined by one thing, and one thing only, a rational, clear-headed assessment of what actions represent the most effective promotion of the national interest. Anything else is chatter, charity or, worst of all, a crusade.

Of course, that interest can be defined (and ought to be defined) imaginatively, broadly and generously, but defending that interest will occasionally involve the sort of actions that you have listed. That may be ugly and sad, but it’s not appeasement.

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