The horror of foreign policy

I’ve not said much about the whole Gaza / Israel thing since October. I have a pretty strong dislike of islamic terrorists, and no equivalent antipathy to Jews, although I do worry from time to time about their understandable but inconvenient tendency to oppose any kind of nationalism (except their own). So my inclination is towards the Israeli side. However, I try to stifle this on the grounds that I don’t know all the facts, though I’m swimming in propaganda, and it isn’t really any of my business.

While discussing yesterday’s General Election, yesterday, it became clear that the main way that that terrible, bloody conflict affects me is through its impact on British politics. Specifically, if British Muslims become estranged from the Labour Party over it, that will significantly change national politics, and will completely overturn local politics where I live.

Now, I don’t generally concern myself with practical politics, for a number of reasons explained at length on this site. I paid attention to the election for entertainment value rather than because I needed to know anything about it. But that’s just me, it’s an unusual view to take. For many people deeply concerned with politics, these questions of party alignment are among the most important things in their lives. Most people with influence over policy fall into that category.

For those people, the most important question about any actual or potential thing that could happen in the Middle East is: would that help me or my enemies in my local political struggle?

Think about that for a while. Peace talks, escalations, terrorist attacks, blockades — how do they affect my department, my constituency association, my party, parliament? Are they good for me, or bad for me?

I have written before that intervention in foreign conflicts tends to be harmful in humanitarian terms, even when specifically predicated on humanitarian aims.

I have seen it alleged (and don’t know whether to believe), both that Hamas intended a vast catastrophe to be inflicted on Palestinians, and that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu intended atrocities to occur against Israelis, in both cases because their political positions depend on the conflict continuing and escalating. If true, these are instances of the same thing, but less clear cut because the participants are much more connected to the direct harms of the conflict than remote foreigners. If someone in Ramallah or Tel Aviv is willing to stir things up in order to strengthen his position, then it is surely much easier for someone in Birmingham or Hendon to come to a similar conclusion.

So expecting the foreign policy directed by people in that position to be humanitarian in effect is very optimistic.

One thought on “The horror of foreign policy”

  1. The Ukrainian War is part of an American, specifically Democrat, and even more specifically Biden family initiative, intending to seize control of petro-chemical assets in the Black Sea. The coup in Kiev resulted in 20 million people of Russian Orthodox background and Russian speech finding themselves under a regime that disadvantaged them.

    The attack on the Nova Music festival was a suicide mission, which looks like it was financed by Russia with the intention of stirring up the Israelis and expanding the scope of the war. In this it has been very successful: the Jews have predictably over-reacted, large numbers of people, not just Muslims, are appalled by their savagery, the Red Sea and the Suez canal are now too dangerous for shipping, campuses are on fire across the United States, and even the newly elected Keir Starmer of Kentish Town had his majority dented to the tune of 7000 votes by a pro-Gaza candidate. With such a large Labour majority, this doesn’t seem very important, but when that tide inevitable withdraws we could find the pro-Muslim party in a position to blackmail the country.

    Naturally the Russians will be looking for even further opportunities to do damage to the NATO cause. The only reason the Russian Army has not completely overrun the Russian part of the Ukraine is that the NATO countries have handed over their entire weaponry to Zelensky. This leaves them in a vulnerable position. It could be a very useful time for the Peoples’ Republic of China to take Taiwan or the South China Sea.

    The narrative that the awful Russians are invading Ukraine is to me, and anyone else with a knowledge of the history and demography of the region, about as impressive as a complaint that the United States has invaded Texas. These events already happened two centuries ago: attempting to reverse it now is a waste of time and assets.

    To stop this senseless slaughter it would help to have a change of regime in the US or even France. Le Penn is now ruled out: perhaps the election of a Trump, though a disaster for decorum and good taste, will come with the silver lining of a sensible policy vis-à-vis Russia.

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