Hypocrisy: official foreign policy of Britain and France

Francois Hollande visit to the UKI am horrified by the state of Britain and Frances’ foreign policy. Two days ago David Cameron responded to the terrorist attack in Algeria thusly:

“It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months,” 

I’m in my mid-twenties. As an adolescent and now adult I have known nothing but war. No, not on the streets of Britain (the riots aside), but overseas, in far away lands. Our fittest, bravest, and youngest are sent away to deal with “terrorist threats”, “anti-democratic regimes”, and “violent dictatorships”. For over a decade we have fought to supposedly defend our freedom against the powers of darkness and destruction. I wonder now however, has anyone in power stopped to ask themselves “I wonder if WE may be the ones who are actually causing this.”

Our governments paint a picture of blood-thirsty Islamist terrorists, hell-bent on the destruction of democracy, modern civilisation, and peace. Mr Cameron has expressed this clearly in recent speeches. However I now see it rather differently. Let me tell you a story.

Libya erupts in civil war. The people, unhappy with Gaddafi’s dictatorial regime, rise up to fight him. When things appear to not be going the way of the freedom fighters, Britain and France intervene with a bombing campaign to reduce Gaddafi’s military to ashes. It works. Gaddafi is deposed. What no one realises is that Gaddafi had in his employ Islamic militants not of Libyan, but Malian extraction. Said mercenaries, well-trained, battle-hardened and well-armed pour back into Mali and instigate a civil war. The Malian government, losing the civil war, invite the French to take part. The French, (uncharacteristically) spoiling for a fight, involve themselves with great gusto. David Cameron promises aid to the French military (do they not have their own transport planes I ask?!?!). The militants, unhappy about this (they’ve been thwarted once before by the French and British) decide to fight dirty and attack an oil refinery in Algeria. Cameron, his resolve hardened declares war on Al Qaeda in North Africa. 

Now, it is not easy to place blame. Was it Gaddafi’s fault for employing Islamic mercenaries? Was it Britain and Frances’ fault for getting involved in the Libyan civil war in a half-hearted way? Is it the Islamic militant’s fault, wanting nothing more in life than a gun and somebody to shoot it at? It is difficult to say, probably all of the above will do.

What I do firmly believe however is that we are meddling in regional conflicts when what we should actually be doing is minding our own business. “We must prevent the humanitarian tragedy in these conflicts!”, I hear you scream at me, so indignant by my isolationist stance. The humanitarian tragedy hasn’t stopped us from doing precisely nothing to relieve the people of Syria from a bloody conflict, nor Sudan, nor any other tragedy you care to list (too many). No, what we have arrived at is a situation in which Britain and France are acting with an official foreign policy of hypocrisy: trying to be world policemen, but ignoring some of the greatest crimes. Both governments appear to pick and choose what they wish to meddle in. And they are making a pretty bad job of it. 

Many commentators are already calling Mali “France’s Afghanistan”. While the conflict in Afghanistan has destabilized Pakistan, I firmly believe that this current conflict has much more serious implication, and the potential to destabilize all of North and West Africa. This is a conflict being fought on grounds of what religion you follow. The militants are all supposedly Islamist. My greatest fear is that this virulent conflict might now spread to somewhere like Nigeria, a country of 170 million people, divided almost 50/50 between Muslims and Christians, a country already unstable without the help of meddling western countries. This is a very real and worrying situation. 

Before Christmas I wrote an article [link] about the Orwellian way in which the EU presents itself to the European people. This permanent state of war we now find ourselves in is yet another situation that Orwell predicted for us. It is utterly chilling.

I would appeal to the leaders of Britain and France to stop their involvement, but that is perhaps pointless now. We are already embroiled in this conflict, and as Mr Cameron says, doomed to decades of war. War that I hope my generation will learn from and not repeat.

But I am just a young man, what do I know?



Edmund Greaves is co-editor of The Libertarian Press. He also writes travel articles at the www.curiousenglishman.com


  1. […] January 22nd I wrote an article lamenting Britain and France’s foreign policy in North Africa [link]. A week has passed and the situation has progressed. David Cameron guaranteed that Britain would […]

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