Monday, February 21, 2011

The point of an ethical foreign policy

After the fall of the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt and the protests across the Arab world, the Jasmine revolution now seems set to claim the scalp of the brutal and absurd Libyan leader, Gaddafi.

What a joy it might have been to know that British hostility to this evil and tyrannical figure had been unrelenting. After all, we have suffered much at his hands: support for terrorist attacks against us, including vigorous funding of the IRA. Whatever the actual truth of the Lockerbie bomb, the fact remains that a Scottish court convicted a Libyan state official of the crime. Gaddafi has long been an enemy of the UK.

So why did Tony Blair cut a deal with this monster?

American critics suggest that pressure from BP persuaded the former Labour PM that a deal would be much in the interests of the British economy. As the UK prepares to evacuate its citizens from Libya, many working for BP, such a deal seems a lot less useful than it seemed at the time.

As the long banned Green-Black-Red flag now flies in open defiance of Gaddafi's own totalitarian green banner, the days of this opera-bouffe dictator seem very numbered- as they certainly should be. Yet it makes me sick to my stomach that Britain appears to have sold equipment to Gaddafi that he has used to butcher his own people.

After the massacres in Benghazi and Tripoli, I imagine that Gaddafi will probably end dangling from a lamp post. It is hard not to feel a contempt for those who betrayed an ethical foreign policy, hypocritically believing that British interests rested on trade with a monstrous tyrant who was a proven enemy, rather than staying true to the traditions of freedom and democracy that underpin our society; principles that the Libyan people are- even now- dying for.

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