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Should Britain lead the war in Yemen? We are always at the tip of the American spear

This is an obvious war. (Photo by Mohammad Huwais/AFP/Getty)

This is an obvious war. (Photo by Mohammad Huwais/AFP/Getty)


January 13, 2024   5 mins

“The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living,” Karl Marx observed. When it comes to British military adventurism in the Middle East, that certainly rings true.

The recent history of British interventions in the region certainly reads like a nightmarish cycle of folly: in Iraq and Syria and Libya and beyond. And yet the cyclical nature of our national life did not start spinning with Tony Blair. It was 1839 when the East India Company first took Aden in today’s Yemen as a British base to protect shipping from the pirates then operating in the Red Sea, disrupting our trade to India. Sometimes you have to wonder whether anything ever changes.

For almost 130 years, Britain kept this toehold on the Arabian peninsula, before being driven out, shamefacedly, by local guerillas in 1967. Within a few months of the so-called Aden Emergency,  Britain would abandon all of its bases east of Suez, the inevitable result of Harold Wilson’s devaluation of sterling the year before. And so went Britain as a global power, and the start of its journey into Europe and our shiny new future as a normal country. Or that was the plan anyway.

And yet, here we are again, out of Europe and using our military power against the tribes of Yemen to protect our commercial interests and those of the rest of the Western alliance. And not only that, but now with bases once again west of Suez, established in Oman and Bahrain during the reign of David Cameron.

Essentially, though, we never left — Britain is still flying sorties over Syria and Iraq from our sovereign base in Cyprus. And in the case of Yemen, as I reported yesterday, this is as obvious a war as you can get. If we can’t fight terrorists attacking our ships disrupting our economy, who can we fight? Unlike the first decade of the 2000s, when we were gripped by grand ideas of liberal interventionism, or the second, when we convinced ourselves humanitarian aid was “soft power” that actually worked, here is a straightforward conflict of interest conflict, in which our prosperity is being undermined by a ragtag band of Yemeni rebels using cheap drones to attack international container ships. If this isn’t what militaries are for, then what is?

This sort of intervention is the kind of thing we do. As one senior official told me, “it is in our DNA”; it is the tradition of our dead generations. Unlike most other European countries, Britain still (just about) has a military capable of taking part in such action and because we have it, we use it. We use it to project power and defend interests. We have the motive and the means to act.

And yet, this does not answer the question about why Britain should commit itself to having such a military force in the first place. What tangible benefit do we get from always being at the tip of the American spear in foreign policy? This was our position in Afghanistan and Iraq and it did us little good. It is the position we have taken up in support of Ukraine and it is now where we are in the fight to control the Houthis. But how do we benefit from being America’s most reliable military partner? Washington was little help during Brexit, bullied us into banning Huawei from any involvement in our critical infrastructure, and won’t even negotiate a trade deal. France and Germany, meanwhile, seem to thrive just as well without taking such risks supporting US hegemony. The Netherlands are now so small they barely have a foreign policy and yet they are far richer than us. What’s more, it’s not as if this intervention is without risk. From 2015 until very recently, a coalition of extraordinarily rich Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia spent $6 billion per month trying to defeat the Houthis — and failed. What makes us think we can do any better?

 

The great irony is that when Britain abandoned its military bases east of Suez in 1968, those who had been championing this policy believed it would put an end to the special relationship and usher in a new European era for us. Harold Wilson’s deputy George Brown, for example, had long concluded that Britain needed to devalue the pound and abandon any pretensions to global power if we were to modernise our economy as the Labour Party had promised in its election victories in 1964 and 1966. Talking to that great icon of the Labour Left, Barbara Castle, in 1966, Brown declared that Britain would have to reject any American financial incentives to maintain its global presence, cut the cord and join Europe. “We’ve got to turn down their money,” he declared, according to an account of the conversation in Ben Pimlott’s biography of Wilson. “Pull out the troops, all of them
 I want them out east of Suez. This is the decision we have got to make: break the commitment to America.”

At this point, remember, it was the Right, not the Left, leading the charge away from the United States. “Left versus Right had lost its old meaning,” Pimlott writes. “Anti-Americanism was a traditional Left-wing prejudice. Yet the former Leftist Wilson, in his bid to shore up the pound, had become an arch-supporter of the special relationship, against the frequently Right-wing devaluers.” Indeed, it would be Harold Wilson’s replacement as Prime Minister, Edward Heath, who would take this to its logical conclusion, becoming the first — and last — prime minister to conclude that Britain should actively reject the special relationship in order to build a new collective European approach to foreign affairs. At one summit in the US, Heath even declined a privileged briefing from the Americans because he did not want to undermine the collective European front with France and Germany that he was trying to build.

And yet, here we are, half a century on, and we’re back where we have always been, fighting alongside the United States, projecting our power, while the rest of Europe watches on, benefiting. You have to wonder whether this is sustainable, particularly as Britain’s economic challenges continue to mount — just like in 1967. In the end, a nation’s commitments cannot be greater than its capabilities for very long before something snaps.

In some senses, then, the fundamental question facing Britain never changes, much as the fundamental nature of our foreign interventions never seem to change. “Why Britain should want to keep a world role was a difficult question,” Pimlott writes of the British government’s challenge during the Sixties. “There was confusion about whether Britain wanted to continue to be some kind of world power for reasons of national prestige; or to provide a post-imperial sense of national purpose
 or simply to guarantee American financial support when the British economy got into difficulties.”

Today, unlike the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the question is not why we are bombing Yemen, because the answer is easy: because a militia is attacking our interests. The question this time is why we are playing such a disproportionate role when we are no longer disproportionately rich. Tradition is not a good enough answer.


Tom McTague is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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David Lindsay
David Lindsay
6 months ago

If the Houthis have been attacking shipping that had nothing to do with Israel, then whose shipping has that been? When have they been attacking it? Why would they? Neither Britain nor the United States claims that any of its own vessels has been attacked, while no other Western country even sees the problem, not even those which had previously signed up to giving the Houthis a jolly good talking to. Likewise, Bahrain, which had also signed up to that, has joined every other Arab country in staying out of this.

That includes several of Britain’s closest allies from the most hardboiled realist point of view. For if this is not a neoconservative war of liberal intervention, then someone needs to tell the neocons and the liberal interventionists, who are thoroughly gung-ho for it, and in the form of the Biden Administration are its principal prosecutors, with the only other participant’s Prime Minister paying court in and to Ukraine hours after the bombing of Yemen.

While American Republicans would of course support the war in Ukraine under a Republican President, and will support it if and when it continued under one, British Conservatives and Labour Rightists are like the Democrats that they would all be in the United States, in that they reflexively support any and every war from the moment that it is first suggested, whether or not that they have ever previously heard of the country in question. You could make one up and then set them tweeting furiously for a war.

A D Kent
A D Kent
6 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

@David – Quite right. The Yemenis are not attacking all ships and have repeatedly made clear their intentions. The ownership structures of much shipping is extremely opaque (by design) with certainly israeli companies/families ultimate owners of most of the ships so far attacked – it seems that the Houthis understand this.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
6 months ago

Any my comment, having been published, just disappears.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

That’s my experience too

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

I’ve just joined and I’ve had a comment that was there for a while, disappeared, and then came back.

I can see your original comment at the moment.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago

Besides really whiny the whole premise is wrong. You aren’t the pointy end of a U.S. spear. You are protecting the sea trade routes you depend on for your prosperity. If the cost is galling maybe you should tax Europe and China and India to recoup it.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

India can take good care of itself thank you. It’s the Indian Navy which repelled the mysterious Arabian Sea attacks.
Of course one has to acknowledge that the armed forces we have have been the most genuine imperial institutional contribution which have been assiduously built up to counter the several inimical nations and proxy players in the region.
Incidentally aside from the Houthis the Pakistani ISI is active too in the region and the Arabian Sea. There can be more cooks than the usual suspects to stir up trouble in the Red Sea thus.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Some of us get it, I assure you.

I personally feel embarrassed when my fellow Britons talk about being the “tips of spears” and “projecting our power overseas.”

As if America, China, etc., give three hoots what a medium-sized European state does.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m patriotic, and our national beers and cakes are second to none. But unless we’re prepared to support a proper military budget, we should stop trying to project a power we don’t have. It just makes people laugh. To repeat – it’s embarrassing.

Clive Hambly
Clive Hambly
6 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Agreed – maybe that is where the spears come in…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Quite so Sir.
If I was allowed just ONE word to describe
GB plc it would have to be EMBARRASSING!

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Laugh + Embarrassing are the exact right words.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

GB is going to impose a tax of the EU, China and India?? Really? Good luck with that.. and if they don’t pay up? GB gunships up the Yangsee River is it? Wow, I bet those guys are quaking in their boots already!

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I rather think import duty on their products was the tax being proposed. That doesn’t need military support…although Customs officers may be busier than previously…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

It was in the nature of a little joke you know.. Do bear I mind, import taxes operate both ways! ..usually it amounts to cutting off your nose to spite your face!

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Good employment measure. I’m in favour. Get some of those lazy unemployed off the couch. Great new business opportunities for Smugglers. It’ll be Frenchman’s Creek all over again. Or maybe Chinkys Creek.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yup some negotiation would have to take place. Maybe double the tax for Ireland.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Just leave it to the smugglers,some great business opportunities there.

Tom K
Tom K
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Precisely. The tip of the American spear? Please don’t tell any Americans unless you are prepared for a fit of the giggles. We do this out of our own interests.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Absolutely. The point of having armed forces is to defend the national interest. Penalising pirates for attacking our trade is exactly what they should be doing. It’s not the same as the Blairite liberal interventionism that has so comprehensively failed elsewhere in the Middle East. That kind of thing should be off the table for ever.

That said, there’s little point in attacking these proxies whilst appeasing their sponsors in Tehran as the Biden administration seem intent on doing.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

..how about protecting your own national waters? Don’t you have an illegal migrant problem or is that, like Ukraine passĂ© now?

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I share the mixture of amusement and embarrassment provoked by the pontifications and pretensions of many British politicians. Nevertheless, three points

1/ If Trump wins, the British and Europeans – separately or together – will have to look after their own security interests including freedom of navigation. There will be no more freeloading on the Pax Americana.

2/ Blocking the Red Sea route is damaging but not fatal to U.K. economic interests. It just adds to costs and inflation. Blocking the Straits of Hormuz, on the other hand, could cause energy shortages far more severe than those resulting from the Ukrainian crisis. Think petrol rationing and perhaps consider this a dress rehearsal.

3/ The crisis would be far easier to handle if the U.K. was not so identified with support for Israel. If the U.K. wants – or will be forced – to play a role in the Middle East then it is our national interest to switch to a neutral stance on Israel/Palestine (irrespective of one’s view of the rights and wrongs of the situation).

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I think you are confusing trumps election bombastic rhetoric and his actual policies. For 2/3, Generally I’m all for real politic but the problem is actually identifying the national interest. I think you have missed the mark by a long margin. Hydrocarbons can be forthcoming from many sources. No need to consider another holocaust to have a source if energy.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
6 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

On Trump, I accept his actions may fall short of his tweets but, even so, his re-election would ensure that American support would become unpredictable and all powers – including the UK – would have to have a Plan B in case the US turned isolationist. This plan B will drive security policy, rearmament, etc (given Plan A is just freeloading on Pax Americana).

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It seems the koolaid tastes good.

And yes, the Uk and Europe should already be considering plan B as its about time.

Chris Whybrow
Chris Whybrow
6 months ago

At no point have I ever met any Libyan who misses Qaddafi. I don’t think they consider getting rid of him a mistake.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Whybrow

I imagine they miss the free education and healthcare, and presumably aren’t too keen on the civil war between the various warlords.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Indeed. A useful metric of the health of a nation is the number of hours of education a 10 year old girl receives. That number plummeted after NATO destroyed the nation state of Libya.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Whybrow

He did supply the IRA with 8oz of Semtex and therefore deserved everything he got*.

(*Including the Stanley knife)

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

Quite possibly…the Libyan people not so much.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Nor the looting of the great classical sites of Lepcis Magna and Sabratha to name but two.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Whybrow

How about choosing between getting rid of Gaddafi OR the total destruction.of their country by NATO? Hardly the latter, surely?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

Britain has no vital national interests in the Middle East, or Ukraine. Quite simply Britain should stay well clear…but it won’t and hasn’t.

Meanwhile the country is literally falling apart, while ladelling out money to Ukraine. No doubt this largesse makes our rulers feel better but it doesn’t fix the roads, the NHS, the economy, living standards, housing shortage…

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

All nations have an interest in stopping terrorism and dictatorship otherwise it will grow and become increasingly powerful. This needs allied action.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

No they don’t…and no it won’t.

How countries are governed or ruled is of no consequence whatsoever to other countries unless their own national interests are threatened.

Indeed Britain is friendly with some very unpalatable governments, as is the USA and most Western countries. In fact IS was stopped by the Syrians and Russia while the West covertly supported it.

Britain and most Western countries have no national interests being threatened by the Houthis.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

BS …. GB isn’t concerned about how Houthis or Yemenis are destroying each other or their own country, The Houthis are not only terrorists, they are pirates. Piracy has never been tolerated so long as it has been possible to combat piracy on the seas. THAT is the tradition that should guide.

P Branagan
P Branagan
6 months ago

Britain’s naval might from the 16th, to the 20th centuries was founded on piracy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

Underscoring Gayle’s point is the fact that maritime piracy has always had a special place in international law. Normal legal restraints don’t apply against it. Arguably, it was US actions against Barbary pirates that began America’s growth as a world power in the first place. Against this background, whether the UK has bases East of Suez is irrelevant. If i wanted to be pedantic, I’d point out to Tom that Oman, Bahrain and Cyprus are, in fact, all East of Suez. Also, that the Netherlands (plus Bahrain, Canada and Australia) is party to the latest anti-Houti coalition.

Lorenzo Giccominato
Lorenzo Giccominato
6 months ago

The Houthis did nothing except intercept Israeli ships in an effort to help the Palestinians. When it comes to Arab resistance against imperialism by the west they are labelled rebels, but when the western invading powers are never labelled terrorists

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

..for a start, I suggest you check under your bed for Reds.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

No way, might be clowns there.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Or Houthis, they get everywhere.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Good to see you back Liam 🙂

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

What’s the action going to look like? What is the objective? What does victory look like? What will the aftermath look like? Everyone wants action; no one has any idea of what is involved.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Valid questions. It would be a mistake to try and defeat the Houthis, the goal should be to suppress the attacks on shipping until there is a ceasefire in Gaza.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

..or the other way round?

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Or we.could all just buy less stuff.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

I have been saying that since Amazon!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Correct.. gung ho and no knickers! ..moth eaten fur coat too!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Is that a Chinese dish? Also knickers can be turned inside out to extend use..

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It’s a Shit show.

Lorenzo Giccominato
Lorenzo Giccominato
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Wrong

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Yeah … “no vital interests in the ME” …. Europe has already fallen to Islam so why bother ? Ha ! He mistakenly calculates that this is about “commercial interests”. No, this is about liberty – the liberty of commerce for starters.
Seriously the problems of Britain and all of Europe are as much cultural and political as financial. The only way Muslims will see that western values are superior to Islamic society is to mix with them. Fortunately Christian missionaries are deconstructing Islam and ex-Muslim groups and apostates are speaking out. They aren’t going to be able to do this in Islamic countries so they must be forced to look. Yes there are hundreds of Muslims in the streets in Europe now protesting the “genocide” in Gaza, but this is not acceptable. The idea that the brutal slaughter of non-Muslim kafirs is just fine as a twisted sort of resistance in the name of Allah must be combated on every level and in every corner of the world.
The kinds of “interests” have changed radically. This author thinks “commercial interests are at stake ? No, liberty is at stake.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

Europe has not fallen to Islam. However it does have a problem at present with “woke-ism” but there seems to be pushback on that…because we do have liberty.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

It IS falling to Islam, as will the rest of the western world unless it very quickly takes affirmative action, including, re arming and re building our armed forces (apart from anything else we will shortly need them to keep peace in our streets). Beyond , below, and deeper than anything mentioned here, is the 15% of radical Islam (that’s about 300 million!) If Israel and Gaza had just been about land it would have been solved years ago. No. It is about an evil, antique religion which has as its stated ambition to rule a world governed by Sharia, and which is already rampant in the middle east.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

An evil antique religion,there is more than one candidate for that title. I mean we are seeing a rerun of the Amalekites right now aren’t we. The man actually said so.

Mrs R
Mrs R
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

I agree with much of what you say but unfortunately you must be in denial about the enabled rise of militant Islam in the West.

Lorenzo Giccominato
Lorenzo Giccominato
6 months ago

You are delusional with this nonsensical sentiment

Lorenzo Giccominato
Lorenzo Giccominato
6 months ago

Did you drink the western propaganda Kool aid of anti Islam, Islamaphobia!

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

Nice if you’ve ever enjoyed liberty. This statement is to me very reminiscent of the 1960s TV I saw as a child,all very noble and “kumbaya” ish. I rub along with Muslim people every day. Big Deal.
It’s not going to usher in World Peace. Liberty of Commerce. Oy vey.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Neither Palestinins nor working class British people matter in this game.. pawns are expendible if the gain (for the big pieces) is worth it.. follow the money.. qui bono?

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes,we are pawns,maybe even Prawns. We dont matter to the chess players and they dont care.
Good thing God cares,in His ineffable way.

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Freddy – they made a Hollywood Musical of this story, Man of Lamancha

”DON QUIXOTE
Hear me now
Oh thou bleak and unbearable world,
Thou art base and debauched as can be;
And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled
Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!
I am I, Don Quixote,
The Lord of La Mancha, ?
My destiny calls and I go,
And the wild winds of fortune
Will carry me onward,
Oh whithersoever they blow.
Whithersoever they blow,
Onward to glory I go!

SANCHO PANZA
I’m Sancho! Yes, I’m Sancho!
I’ll follow my master till the end.
I’ll tell all the world proudly
I’m his squire! I’m his friend! ‘

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UUDguFEa5E

as sung by Biden and Boris…..

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago

Sancho Panzer, sort of minder
Monkey to the organ grinder
Watched the exploits of his chief
And rubbed his eyes in disbelief
To see him fight a flock of ewes
Or, in his dottiness confuse
Some windmills for a hostile army
Though slow he saw his boss was barmy!
‘W S Brownlie’

Simon Boudewijn
Simon Boudewijn
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Michael – your problem is you do not yet understand the Western Governments are in thrall to the ‘Global Elites’, what David Icke and ‘The Salty Cracker’ call the ‘Lizard People’.

The Uniparty Dems and Republicans, Conservative and Labour – and same in all the West – they are out to Destroy you – and all the West, and basically the world. The Elite’s goal is to use AI to make the world 1984 for eternity as they merge with it in a trans-humanist existance where they become demigods, and you are mere vermin underfoot.

It is not looking good so far.

John Riordan
John Riordan
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

The shipping lane that is under attack is very much a vital national interest for Britain. To lose the Red Sea as a safe route would have severe economic consequences for Britain and indeed the whole of Europe.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

There would be some economic consequences, no doubt, but not severe or unmanageable.
In any event, the Red Sea HAS been closed and the attacks on the Houthis will not reopen it…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

..if only we had a pipeline from Russua supplying gas at Πthe price the usurous Americans are charging us!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

We did and the Yanks blew it up! Biggest act of sabotage since WW2 and the media toads don’t even talk about it (funny that, they couldnt stop talking about Covid and Brexit and Climate issues…

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

So,schmucks won’t be able to buy “stuff” less fly tipping then.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

True but poor people still need to buy stuff which is now more expensive…

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

It’s all a vast money laundering scheme. That money Sunak took to Zelensky. It goes in Zees Swiss account and from there who knows where it goes. Did you all know that a lot of Tory MPs own land and a lot of other investments in Rwanda. Seems some social unrest there created investment opportunities. So that ÂŁ24 million sent to Rwanda recently I think it’s all gone by a circuitous route into those investors back pockets. That’s money laundering. And HS2,they NEVER intended to build that rail line to up north. It was a ploy to get all that land and break peoples hearts. Acres of ancient woodland have been cleared in prime house building locations. All those houses of compulsory purchase are now being rented out. More money laundering. And even public enquiries with ‘independent’ panels. You have to find out whose cousin, brother in law,wife’s best friend etc they are.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

I have no doubt regarding the corruption and cronyism of some Tory (and other) politicians but do you have a source for these accusations, I would love to have it. Thanks

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Keeping warm is a vital interest to me. If sea lanes in the Middle East are threatened at what price is Qatari LNG going to be shipped to the UK?

Jane Watson
Jane Watson
6 months ago

If we have any sort of military capability, I can’t think of a more useful thing for it to do than protect ships from piracy? What exactly is disproportionate about using our existing forces to safeguard our immediate interests?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

I agree that British forces should be used to safeguard Britain’s immediate interests.

However shipping going through the Red Sea is neither a vital nor immediate British interest, especially when there is an alternative route.

Furthermore, it seems unlikely any civilian ship’s crew will agree to sail on a ship through what is, in effect, now a war zone where ships are the actual target.

Having been attacked, no doubt the Houthis will retaliate on Western “soft” targets, probably the civilian population of the attackers. London has just become a rather more dangerous city to be in, for no advantage whatsoever to Britain.

Laurence Target
Laurence Target
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Immediate interests only? No strategic thought?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Jane Watson

What’s disproportionate, as the author makes clear, is the UK being at the forefront in defending shipping in the Red Sea, alongside the US and with minor assistance from one or two others. Thus, our military budget becomes stretched when we can least afford it whilst the majority of nations whose supplies move through the Red Sea sit back and watch.
The question is: what, if anything, do we do to change this disproportionality?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The simple act of ensuring aid gets into Gaza is all that is required for the Houthis to desist.. how hard is that? It might help you if GB stops providing WMD to aid the Israeli genocide of defenseless children.. or it that unacceptable?

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

WMD refers to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. They are not being used in Gaza.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

So no “mass destruction” in Gaza then? The Palestinisns will be delighted to hear that! Such a relief.. However the destructive power of the bombs and shells destroying Gaza is TWICE as great as the nuclear destruction of Hirishima and Nagasaki and on an area ÂŒ the size so 8 times as ‘massive’ So you can argue terminology but the proof of the pudding is in the eating..

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

It is reasonable to say there is mass destruction in Gaza – it’s horrific. But the terminology matters as you are no doubt aware, which is why you used it.

Your maths is absurd though – the effect of the atomic bombs was concentrated on a few square miles, not the whole area of the prefecture, most of which was rural and untouched. 5 square miles of Hiroshima (mist of it) was almost entirely flattened.

Why devalue your own argument by making spurious comparisons?
Why downplay the immense and instant destruction of the atomic bombs?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

I have no expertise in the matter. I was quoting George Galloway who seems to know his stuff
I’m sure you’re aware of the ‘downstream’ effects of a nuclear attack.. those vaporised were simply the first ‘layer’.. then there were the badly burnt; then the radiation sickness, then the birth deforities and on and on…
Similarly there are the Gazan bodies blown to smithereens, those buried under the rubble, the horrific injuries untreatable due to the destruction of hospitals, the incurable psychological damage, the starvation and finally the diseases. Genocide fir sure.
The fact thar GB aids and abet these crimes is utterly, totally and completely beyond my understanding. This is the stuff of Nazism, Satanism and.. I haven’t the words.. How is it possible for decent English people to support this? I just don’t get it!

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Most people think what’s happening in Gaza is horrendous, as I’ve already said regarding myself. The Hamas attack was also horrendous. However, depending on your leanings you might at least understand why one or both have occurred, without being happy with either.

Btw you haven’t said, anywhere on here as far as I can see, what you think GB is doing to aid Israel, aside from making obviously false claims about supplying WMD.

I’m pretty sure a few attacks on the Houthis makes very little difference to Israel if that’s what you count as support.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

But they ARE causing mass destruction Dennis?? doh

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Literally my first sentence in the post immediately before this. But it is not being caused by WMDs as Liam said it was.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

The simple act of raping, torturing and brutally murdering civilians targeted by Hamas is something you’re not prepared to contemplate, rendering your point worthless.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Utterly reprehensible acts by Hamas which I utterly condemn.. albeit exaggerated, twisted and much of it downright lies.. But the Oct 7 atrocities are IRRELEVANT to the Israeli genocide for one glaringly obvious reason. It is not the guilty Hamas fighters that are being slaughtered and starved is it? It is totally innocent civilians, mostly children that are the subject of the heinous war crimes, slaughter and genocide. The murder of innocents cannot be justification for heinous crimes committed by others …almost all safely underground btw.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

All that was planned,organized,paid for and facilitated by the CIA on order to create a justification for the current situation. They even arranged for all the security measures to be switched off. This world situation was created by America,by the USA military -industrial complex ( my phone now has that phrase ready to hand),,,it was America who carried out the Oct 7 atrocity using a few paid fools,low life,idiots and bad guys they scraped up from somewhere.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My immediate response to this was also to question why it is always the UK alongside the US, whilst other Western countries are doing much less but presumably require shipping as much, or almost as much, as we do. As the article says the UK is not the wealthiest or most powerful anymore.

Maybe it’s because amongst European countries the UK has the most capable navy and there’s a quid pro quo somewhere else, or at another time, that we in the UK are less likely to hear about as it doesn’t directly involve us.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

It’s a fair point, in which case, we need to hear about it. The author, who’s presumably in a position to have knowledge of such things, hasn’t.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

Other countries’ ships are not being attacked.. only Israeli (+allies) ships so why spend good money to protect Israeli+ ships?

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Maybe you and antisemitic conspiracists are correct – the attack on the Houthis by US and UK is merely to assist Israel. Or maybe the official line of keeping shipping moving through Suez is correct, as even if non-Israel linked ships aren’t being attacked they are still diverting. Just like you I have no way of knowing.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
6 months ago

Why Britain should commit itself to having such a military force in the first place?

We commit to having a military force because it pushes back the threat to somewhere else. Without a military force the threat will appear on our shores.

Europe is swaddled in a collective delusion that its future is secure. Its bureaucrats share an even grander delusion that by their actions its future is settled. Yet all it takes is a few armed dinghies in the Channel and we’d starve to death.

As it is, some armed dinghies in the Red Sea have pushed up energy prices for Europe, and risk cutting off Europe from vital energy supplies. Some of our poorer citizens are shivering to death.

This is why we have a military force that allies itself with approximately like minded nations. We all depend on a globalised world for our very lives. To make sure that world stays ordered as we need it, we must project enough power to dissuade others from trying to change it.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

..ha ha, good luck with that!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Bravo!
Spoken like a fully paid up member of the Blob.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago

Actually ‘Blob’ is far to polite a word, CABAL would be a better description.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Scary, scary they’re coming for us !
Yeah,all through history. They always have been and they always will be. You live your life quaking in fear if you like it. To accept Fear is to subject oneself to control.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Maybe some truth in that, however can we not believe the Houthis claim that their actions are in support of the Palestinians who are being slaughtered in Gaza. (And please no moronic anti – semetism claims from the red necks on here)

A D Kent
A D Kent
6 months ago

That the Yemenis are attempting to close the Strait is not proven. There is evidence that they are specifically targetting Israeli bound or owned vessels passing through the straits of the Yemeni coast. No Russian or Chinese ships have been attacked. The Yemenis are well aware of the ownership structures of the vessels passing through – which very often involve the usual layers of shell companies and flags of convenience.

https://johnhelmer.org/russian-identification-of-houti-tanker-target-in-indian-ocean-how-the-western-media-are-protecting-the-israelis/

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

They have targetted ships from 50 different nations apparently.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But who actually owned the vessels and their cargo?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Jeff Bezos.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

How many Israel owned or bound do you know? I guess those aiding and abetting the genocidal attacks on innocent children are now legitimate targets as well? ..or so we are told by international lawyers?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Interesting link…

It is notable that some in the Western press seem to be “softening up” their readers for some type of action against Iran eg Andrew Neil in the Daily Mail today.

Any such action would be a huge mistake by the West with unforeseeable consequences…so it will probably happen…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Yes, the one defining question is: is it stupid? If yes, then yes it will happen. But a second (primary?) question must also be asked? Is there money in it for the MIC, and its filthy rich Oligarch ‘elite’ ownership? That, it seems, is a far more important question.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Kosher Nostra commands and WE obey.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Yet more unwelcome truth.. soon the gullible and propaganda victims will be overwhelmed! What will happen then? OMG reality may dawn? Truth? Balance? The end of the (sick, sad, evil, deluded) world as we know it …only too well

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
6 months ago

We should remember that the UK is the 5th largest economy in the World.
As such, we should be able to defend our considerable interests across the World … the problem is ‘Welfarism’ … it sucks our economy dry, denies us a strong military and destroys our values.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
6 months ago

This only applies if you believe hairdressing and tatooing counts as economic activity.

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
6 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Roe

Both raise money that can be taxed,so yes they count as economic activity. Regardless of what snobs may think.

Anthony Roe
Anthony Roe
6 months ago
Reply to  Avro Lanc

They don’t raise money merely circulate it.
Do you really believe if we all had our hair cut 20 times a day the economy is growing.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
6 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Roe

That is 1.2 billion per day earned and probably 400 million taxable profit so 100 million per day tax = 36.5 billion in taxation on haircuts alone, in answer to your ineffectual, negligent, nit picking discussion when there are so many more important problems. Not the least of which is that unless we are strong we will be overrun by this dreadful antique religion and its followers.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

Oy vey. They get everywhere

Su Mac
Su Mac
6 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Roe

Are you saying you don’t believe in the wealth creating miracle of the service economy?!! Shame on you…

alan bennett
alan bennett
6 months ago
Reply to  Anthony Roe

It is people working for a living, unlike most immigrants and those professional parasites we breed ourselves.
The fat porkers riding around on invalidity buggies are a case in point, they could do the two jobs you mention and millions of others.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

For sure.. what’s needed are concentration camps and gas chambers; and perhaps instead of aiding Israel to carpet bomb Gaza you could carpet bomb your own welfare recipient’s? Like in Gaza it’s handy if you get ’em into a vast open air prison first.. make receipt of welfare a crime first.. easy. Problem solved.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Your straw man needs higher quality overalls. And better straw.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’m only supporting Richard Calhoun’s final solution using your ally Israel’s methodology. Don’t blame me!

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Brits don’t need concentration camps. A dozen lashes to the cheap troll and the problem is solved

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What are you blethering on about?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

I’m only supporting Richard Calhoun’s final solution using your ally Israel’s methodology. Don’t blame me!

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Israel isn’t going away anytime soon. Your comrades in Hamas and Hezbollah need to accept that fact, even if the added persuasion of aerial bombardments, heavily artillery, and infantry offensives are needed.
The Houthis, similarly, need to live as peacefully as possible alongside their Sunni neighbors, and cannot be allowed to engage in piracy for Palestine.
And while any support from the Mother Country is always very gratefully appreciated, particularly British foreign policy expertise, the US Navy retains a very formidable presence in the Atlantic, and can make quick enough work of the Houthis. One needs electricity and some sort of fuel to launch drones, for example. They’re far harder to launch otherwise.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

That’s on the way. It is The Plan.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Lol well said!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago

Only 7th now, behind India and Russia lol sad isn’t it, but no one wants to work anymore…

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
6 months ago

The “fifth largest economy” is a myth based on the size of our population. What matters is the GDP per capita, and based on that we are the 27th largest economy, not the 5th.
https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-per-capita/

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago

Just as well Britain didn’t turn a blind eye to the rise of the Nazis and say sorry folks, nothing to do with us.
There does however need to be a wider appeal to the whole swathe of countries affected by the Houthis, surely this is a role for NATO?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Britain did turn a blind eye to the rise of the said movement; it was an internal matter for the German people.

Britain did not turn a blind eye to the Guarantee it had, foolishly, given to Poland. The Guarantee was foolish because Britain had no means, without the support of the Soviet Union, to fulfill it…and so it proved.

Robbie K
Robbie K
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Yet non intervention would have been far more foolish, with Germany ultimately growing in power and strength after overcoming the mainland and becoming a far greater adversary. Which is what will happen if the likes of Iran and Russia are not opposed.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The UK came out of WW2 very much poorer with power shifted emphatically to the US. Plus all the death and hardship.

We know now Hitler was obsessed with going east and may well have left Western Europe alone. So, from Britain’s point of view, would it have been so foolish to have left Nazi Germany alone? Selfish perhaps, maybe even immoral, but with the benefit of hindsight, not necessarily foolish.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

To make a mistake ( WW1 ) is forgivable, to make two (WW2) is UNFORGIVABLE.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

..and WW3? What do reckon on that one Charlie? It has already started or is just around the corner..

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The German economy was under great pressure prior to the outbreak of the war due to the cost of rearmament. Germany may have been growing in military strength but certainly not economic strength.

Without the pact with the Soviet Union, it would have been unable to continue as a functioning economy. Even so, payment for the Soviet products was in gold…and Germany was unable to pay much longer, hence the attack onnthe Soviet Union (which was the main intention anyway..).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Precisely, the UK was NEVER on Hitler’s menu, and WE flatter ourselves that it ever was.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

Germany could never have beaten the British Empire…or invaded Britain; it was just impossible.
Germany wanted a peace treaty with Britain allowing it a free hand in the East.
Of course Germany now dominates Europe in any event. How long that lasts after the demise of Nordstream cheap energy remains to be seen…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

No doubt we will NEVER see the proposals that Herr Hess was kind enough to fly over and deliver!

The 100 Rule over the sinking of HMS Glorious is bad enough, but the Hess Affair is quite ludicrous, unless off course you are defending the National Myth.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

Indeed, he saw Brittain as a likely ally with similar views.. many of which are alive and kickin’ today!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“many of which are alive and kickin ‘today’!”

Indeed in Irish Republic no less.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Really? Are you sure? There is no precedent in the case of Iran is there (apart from very ancient history)? While Russia undoubtedly had vassal States so too does the US ..the UK being one, the EU another. Where the US goes, death, destruction, mayhem and impoverishment soon follow.
As H.Kissinger (famous war criminal) said: “.to be an enemy of the US is very dangerous to be a friend is fatal!”

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

..and how quickly the West forgot who really defeated Nazi Germany, with unimaginable sacrifices ..with Western countries playing a minor role.. Again, a quick count of the no. of troops deployed and the death count is testament to the truth.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes it was the Soviet Union which really defeated Germany by tearing the guts out of the German army…but the cost of the war to the Soviet Union was unimaginable in blood and destruction.

There are two epithets which apply:

The British beat the Italians, the Russians beat the Germans and the Americans beat the Japanese.

Britain supplied time, America money and Russia blood.

Both are, generally, true.

Further the Depression in America wasn’t ended by Roosevelt’s pre war economic measures but by the colossal industrial expansion and demand created by the war.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Could the Soviet Army have done it without Lend-Lease or whatever ‘we’ called it?

Up until the collapse of the USSR such a suggestion would have been anathema to most of our so called academics.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

The point is moot.

Certainly the Soviet Union built a massive arms industry building tanks and other arms at impressive rates

However after the war Zhukov said that the materiel supplied by the Western Allies was essential, particularly US trucks (which gave infantry mobility); he was sidelined despite being the main architect of victory.

Hence “the Americans supplied the money…” as in materiel…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

Yeah Russia was broke then ..just like now, right?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

For sure.. nicely put, foodgor thought. Ghere must be a better way of making a buck isn’t there? China seems to have cracked it with its BnR I initiative? Better than death and destruction surely?

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
6 months ago

US and UK adventurism in the Bab el Mandeb is not benefiting Europe, on the contrary. The Houthi’s mischief in the area has a clearly identified cause. Whether or not we agree with their stance or their methods, denying the Houthi’s cause prevents any resolution.
Britain also used to have a tradition of canny, amoral, but effective diplomacy. What happened to that?
The Houthis understand very well that they don’t have to sink any ship to win. All they have to do is persuade insurers that the Bab el Mandeb is too dangerous to insure.
All the US and UK have done is to turn a zone of tension into a war zone. How that is supposed to reassure insurers is a mystery to me. Rather, the US and the UK have done the Houthis’ work.

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
6 months ago

HI upvoted you but it’s not being registered.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago

In other words, we should avoid upsetting murderous and rabidly antisemitic movements and their warlord governments, because they’ll make marine insurance impossible to obtain.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

You say “Washington was little help during Brexit”. That’s right. It was Moscow that wanted brexit. Putin won.
Perhaps we should be more careful in our choice of allies.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I recall that the Referendum produced a majority of British voters in favour of leaving the EU.
Neither Russia nor the USA had a vote, although Obama’s threats probably helped the Leave campaign rather a lot.

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

You are free to be on Putin’s side.
I’m not.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago

Don’t be silly, David/UnherdReader.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

I am free to be on whoever’s side I choose…so far, and that freedom may not last.

I choose to be on Britain’s side and Britain is not helped by engaging in foreign adventures yielding no benefit to it.

Regrettably the British ruling class insists on pretending to “punch above our weight”, when quite obviously Britain does not, and supporting US foreign policy without receiving any return or even respect for doing so.

Other Western countries do rather better in looking after their own interests.

A remark of Macmillan’s (in this case about West Germany) remains appropriate… “we are defending them, while they are stealing our markets…”

Britain should stop doing so.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Get to the back of the queue! Or is it the line?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What utter rubbish.. it was the British super rich who wanted Brexit, to avoid looming wealth tax and financial transparency under EU law. The British people were hoodwinked ..yet again! and are now paying a heavy price.. plus ca change eh?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago

You say “Washington was little help during Brexit”. That’s right. It was Moscow that wanted brexit.
Putin won.
Perhaps we should be more careful in our choice of allies.

Nick Toeman
Nick Toeman
6 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It was the British people that chose Brexit, not Putin, and he hasn’t benefitted because Britain took the lead ahead of the EU in defying Russian aggression.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Nick Toeman

But who told the British people that is what they wanted? Follow the money.. Qui Bono..

David Colquhoun
David Colquhoun
6 months ago

You say “Washington was little help during Brexit”. That’s right. It was Moscow that wanted brexit.
Putin won.
Perhaps we should be more careful in our choice of allies.

David Jennings
David Jennings
6 months ago

This article and some of the comments state that Britain has no national interests in the Middle East but implies (without explaining how) the US does have such national interests to be the world’s policeman.
Wake up. The US does not benefit materially from globalization and certainly bears most of its cost. Its economy is about the most self-sufficient there is on the planet and what it does not have it can mostly obtain regionally. Imported oil mostly comes from Canada and South America.
It is Britain and Europe and Canada and Australia and China etc. that need a globalized economy, not the US. While the US tolerated the cost of all this globalization while fighting the Cold War (and attempting to avoid a large hot war) that ended three decades ago. For those of us who live around the world and rely on the US to continue to protect us and keep chaos at bay, we better hope it only costs a few sorties from a safe airbase against a backward nation to maintain the order we have (however frayed).

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

The US ruling class most certainly does benefit from globalisation. It has bought up many global resources and companies ( with US dollars which are just printed…no actual “value” behind them since 1971…) and the profits flow directly to them.

However the American people have not benefited so much…de-industrialisation, financialisation of the economy, massive third world immigration…and providing the manpower for the military underpinning the American Empire.

As you point out, the USA could be totally self sufficient ie isolationist. The US ruling class chooses not to…it wouldn’t be as profitable.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Hence, the reason why the USA ruling class aka the Democrats would like to eliminate Trump.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Huh? Tweedkedum replaces Tweedledumber? Crazy replaces Senile? Mad templates Criminal?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

“The US does not benefit materially from globalization and certainly bears most of its cost.” You have to be very, very naive to believe that! Having the US$ as the world reserve currency and the petrodollar makes a vast fortune for the US! For starters it can print money at will. It’s national debt need never be repaid, ie $34tn ($100k pp, or €300k per household, in a country where the rich pay no taxes!). Only an world dictator can keep this scam going with total military jackbootism.
Sadly fir the US this is now coming to an end and BRICS++ is taking over.. The US will kill and destroy all in its way to keep it going but that ‘one world order’ in now in rigour mortis!

Terry M
Terry M
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Which of the BRICS would you prefer lead? All are less free, more racist, unequal, more sexist, and less humanitarian. The US has sacrificed both blood and treasure to keep you lot out of the clutches of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Putin, Xi and others.

A D Kent
A D Kent
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Yes the US DID those things, but the corporate captured,financialised, debt mongering, deindustrialised state that it is now is incapable of defending anyone nowadays. Their aggressive hubris is now a much greater threat than those of Putin adn Xi.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

I don’t recall any of those guys threatening my (neutral) country.. nor do I recall Irish shipping being sunk for want of naval protection.. We did have a 700 year long, often brutal occupation and imposed famine resulting in a million starved to death, but that was not by any of countries you list.
As a white christian of course I do very well under the current brutal regime but as real Christian I consider the rights of others, notably the right to life of my brown, non christian fellow human beings.
For example I believe those 3 million dead Vietnamese deserved life, the 1 million dead Iraqis deserved life and all those dead Afghans, Libyans, Yemenis, Gazans etc etc making another 4 million dead victims of unbridled US + NATO (+proxy) brutality..
The rights you list are secondary, indeed pale into insignificance compared to the right to life not least the right to life of innocent little children blown to pieces by the US/NATO murder machine. The figures don’t lie. The facts are plain to see.. the war crimes, the genocide, the crimes against humanity including starvation.. Why people like you cannot see all of this is utterly astonishing to me.. Israeli leaders boast about genocide and you provide the bombs to blow Gazan children to pieces ..and you think this is OK? Sorry, but I just don’t get it.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
6 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Oh be quiet Terence, the USA elites suck, didn’t you get the memo?

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

BRICS++, in which the leading countries are ready to rip each other’s throats out? Yes, a very promising union 🙂

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Really? Are you sure? ..or are you just a gullible sucker for Western propaganda? After all, the vast majority of murderous attacks have been perpetrated by the US, their death count being 8 million according to US (university*) figures. I think you’ll find throat ripping, beheading, evisceration using bombs and rockets etc is largely a Western pastime. If you include brown, black and ‘yellow’ people and non Christians rather than thinking they don’t matter, you get a different perspective. Try it..
* I forget which one..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

No mention of the alternative! The Yemenis will stop attacking Israeli (bound) shipping when that genocidal regime allows humanitarian aid into Gaza..
Why does GB find such a deal so unpalatable?
Why is the prospect of ceasing the deliberate starvation of innocent children unacceptable?After all, the Houthis are not demanding the slaughter ceases.. you can continue to provide the bombs to blow the same innocent children to pieces. All they are insisting on is that they be fed beforehand.. is that really so much to ask?

Clive Green
Clive Green
6 months ago

Count on Europe to actually fight alongside us!? Moreover, I hardly think our mild air power aid constitutes “the top of the spear”

0 0
0 0
6 months ago

We’ve had another option George Brown and Harold Wilson didn’t exploit. Nurture a positive relationship with Russia. They’re a natural complement both for our real economy and the City, whereas the US is a difficult competitor.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago

Unfortunately none in the UK
stop for a moment and ponder
‘Its the economy ( money ) stupid )
Well let’s look at the money
It costs all in over ÂŁ 2 million to shoot down a easily mass produce drone that cost less than ÂŁ 300 and all the tricks how to do so from Ukraine not allowing for how Russia very quickly learned to
Counteract High Tech.Western missiles and GPS artillery etc.
The same stupid mistake was made in Afghanistan when very early Military economics calculated that for NATO to kill 1 Taliban it cost over $ 10 million to do so
Whilst for a Taliban it only cost less than $ 1 to kill one of NATO,s armed forces

Only and truly a Fool believes that the Houthis can be defeated
Do not forget both UK & USA have to keep borrowing money in order to do this
And now in the ridiculous situation of borrowing just to keep up with Interest
Payments

Do The Maths

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Ah, Kipling knew all about this:

‘A scrimmage in a Border Station –
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail….
Strike hard who cares – shoot straight who can
The odds are on the cheaper man.’
(Arithmetic on the Frontier)

We have continually failed to learn from our own imperial history. It’s frustrating to have to bow the knee to ‘a bunch of ragheads’, but sometimes you have to box cleverly.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

With such enormous costs someone is making big profits and someone else is getting big dividend payouts and shares growing rapidly.. Follow the money …all the way and reasons for apparent folly will become even clearer..

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You have hit the nail firmly and squarely upon the head
Two examples one good for making money
The other bad as The West forgot about the money and got all hot and bothered with Psuedo morality

Example one
Iraq 2 a bloody idiot knew there never was any WMD so why did we Invade
Easy oil was going into low supply
High demand and the price predicted
That if the World could not pump more oil price would go to $ 160 / barrel at the least
Iraq 1 week before War was pumping just over 700,000 bpd

And just before the invasion induced
Sudden rise of ISIS
Iraq pumping over 8 million barrels/day
Go see how Bush and Blair finances suddenly and vastly improved
And the effect on Oil prices and Western oil companies profits

Example 2
Afghanistan
China is very very smartly and carefully nurturing The Taliban
How by partnering them in the build up of good governance and the state institution,s required to do so
This takes time and ultra carefully implemtation
Why is China doing this
Firstly China always enters into friendly relations on a WIN/ WIN basis each side showing respect divinty and honour for each others
History, Culture , Society , Religion and beliefs
So far so good as Afghan governance greatly improving
Mutual trust beginning to firmly establish
So this begs the Question what in it for China
Well then a agreement has been reached for China to develop the largest Copper mine deposits in the World
In return Afghanistan gets a new super highway, railway development ,
Educational and health facilities
With many direct economic benefits for local Afghans
That’s what China means by WIN/WIN
Furthermore and here’s the big slap in the face for The West
China recently discovered a rare earth mineral ( The name of which escapes me currently) which upto date conceived wisdom thought only
Very small deposits existed
But the latest discovery in Mongolia
A huge easily minted deposit found
Bingo Afghanistan has very similar Geology China has secured 1 st call on any deposits found
But this does not end there
This new rare Earth mineral has huge
Advantages over Lithium as follows
Much easier to process greatly reducing costs for Batteries
Has 9 times the life of Lithium
Can fully recharge over the battery life at least 20 Time more than Lithium
Recharge from zero back to full charge in a few minutes

Not only have the Taliban won the war
But along with China are winning the Peace
Which ensures the West,s ignemonious retreat from Afghanistan shall continue for a very long time indeed with the end result of well and truly losing the economic and Geo politically situation in Global
Affairs
China by way of it’s ancient history , wisdom and application of Zen Buddhism and The Teachings of Confucius
All of which President Xi is a most learned scholar of such and comprehends what Western minds singularly fail to understand far less grasp

All this Eastern Philosophy refers to as Cause/Effect
In that no matter how where or when
No cause shall ever arise that does not have a effect
And No effect can ever arise without a cause
Now here’s one teaching you shall have great difficulty putting your head aroun
Be Mindful at all times with your thoughts,views, speech , efforts actions and works
Why because That when you cast the smallest of pebbles upon which you believe are the calmest of Waters
Then such may cause the largest of splashes and biggest of waves
And that is exactly what The West singularly failed to understand as it
Charged into Afghanistan

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Yep I get it.. it’s smart v stupid, it’s longterm v shorterm, it’s win the peace not just the war (actually, you can skip the war bit), it’s mutual gain rather than screw the weak state: in short, its multipolar v unipolar world, its BRICS++ v The dying West.. it’s the future v the past, it’s reality v death + destruction policies.. it’s the new enlightenment v the dark Satanic ages..

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Doyle

Thank you for giving us all the official PRC propaganda line.
China’s one child policy resulted in tens of millions of missing women, causing plummetting birth rates, so in a few decades they’ll be too elderly to maintain their dystopian surveillance state or their cheap labor pool.
Insofar as their supposed beneficence towards other nations, one need only look at their treatment of the Uighurs to see their tolerance. We can clearly see their concentration camps from our satellites, if we happen to be on the lookout for genocides. If they wish to extract resources from other countries in exchange for development, so be it, but others are aware of how they treat non-Han Chinese people, and of societies in Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
6 months ago

It’s all about keeping up appearances – an issue of great importance to Britain, they even made a popular TV sitcom with that title. We might have public services that are falling apart and a low wage economy – but our politicians still want us to strut across the world stage as if we are still masters of the universe. The fact that our neighbours and allies can see through it and know we are all fur coat and no knickers doesn’t seem to register.

Ken Bowman
Ken Bowman
6 months ago

If the UK assist successfully in keeping the Red Sea open, I as a taxpayer will be paying to maintain Maersk’s profitability.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  Ken Bowman

..and you not yo be even in the EU to boot!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago

“before being driven out, shamefacedly, by local guerillas in 1967”.
What arrant nonsense! We abandoned the place in line with the Labour Government’s “East of Suez “ policy, which meant that Aden was simply superfluous to requirements.

The bunch of Ragheads we were fighting did manage to behead two members of the SAS and ultimately kill about 170 British servicemen over a number of years, but they were NEVER in a position military to “drive us out”.

It must be said that although Aden was viewed very much as the, and to lapse into the vernacular, ‘ars*hole of the known world, it offered excellent ‘sport’ for young commanders fighting the penultimate Imperial campaign against the traditional enemy.
It also a very useful contrast to what soon followed in Northern Ireland

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

I much prefer the Omani war in the 1950s. Much grander.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Still going well in the 70’s!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago

As a result of a previous bout of Israeli Imperialism the Suez Canal was CLOSED for EIGHT YEARS* resulting in a somewhat unpleasant consequences for Western Europe.

If ‘things get out hand’ this time could ‘we’ survive this happening again?

(*1967-1975.)

William Shaw
William Shaw
6 months ago

This writer is delusional.
We should be defending our southern shore against boat people.
We should defend our territorial waters against EU fishing boats.
We should defend our island against Russian air and naval incursions.
Until we have successfully achieved these existential goals we shouldn’t be doing anything else militarily.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

..you also need anti redsunderthebeds weapons!

R Wright
R Wright
6 months ago

I can’t find any evidence that British shipping has been attacked, so I am not quite sure what in God’s name we are doing, besides embarrassing ourselves east of Suez once again.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

..but now yer there, naturally ye WILL be a target! Oops, shot yerselves in the foot again!

John Dewhirst
John Dewhirst
6 months ago

Meanwhile the ragheads of Yemen are being cheered in the streets of London.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

No they aren’t.
Whilst any demonstration has people with a wide range of reasons the demonstrations are against the bombing of Gaza and in support of the victims.
No doubt there are attendees who are anti Israel..and more extreme views, the demonstrations are not intended to be so.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago
Reply to  John Dewhirst

..is it really necessary to describe these superb fighers as ‘ragheads’? ..do you refer to the Gurkhas in similar tone? If you lose the racism you gain in appreciation..

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

“superb fighters” would not subject their country to decades of tribal civil war. “superb fighters” would eventually build a successful nation.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 months ago

What are the imports coming through Suez that we need so much anyway? Cheap Chinese rubbish?

Mike MacCormack
Mike MacCormack
6 months ago

All my life, I’m 72, the UK has been trying to come to terms with a loss of empire which happened to us effectively overnight – all the assumptions about our role in world affairs vanished and a couple of hundred years of economic and political and military might were suddenly no more. I can remember as a small child reading about Aden in my father’s News Chronicle, and the Gile’s cartoon annuals with arab women making eyes at British troops – we really didn’t understand that the game was up.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
6 months ago

I disagree that “the UK” has been trying to come to terms with the loss of Empire.

The Empire had no great impact on the “normal” British people; they had no contact with it and didn’t care about it. It didn’t benefit them.

However the British ruling class had profited greatly from it and did care immensely about its loss, and the loss of power and prestige.

Regrettably that attitude persists in our rulers eg Shapps and Cameron threatening the Houthis with retribution. I have no idea what they think can be done. Bombing temporary launch sites of cheap mass produced drones achieves nothing…except possibly to give said Ministers a thrill.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Shapps is a Jew and I gather Cameron was known as ‘Jew boy’ at Eton so perhaps it is a little more than just looking for a “thrill”. Then off course Blinken is a Jew.

So how on earth can we expect ‘Abdul and Sinbad’ to believe we are honest brokers? It beggars belief.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

In 1922 Imperial Defence accounted for 20% of Government spending, that would be equivalent of today’s NHS budget. In 1955 the Royal Navy headcount was 128,000 thousand, when home on leave the humblest rating gave his family first-hand accounts of the Empire.
Shipbuilders around the UK understood they were contributing to a British Maritime fleet that dominated world trade.
In 1905 a Welsh coal miner understood his best quality anthracite coal powered British ships that travelled the globe.
Anyone living in Bristol could not fail to notice the giant Imperial Tabaco warehouses on the edge of the city, they likely had an inkling of imperial trade routes. School children in the 1920s studied maps in geography lessons showing 25% of the globe coloured red.
In 1950 a navigator employed in the Union shipping line knew his ship was the hemoglobin of the still largely intact Empire as he navigated his ship along the arteries of Empire, Southampton, Gibraltar, Malta, Suez Canal, Aden, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Durban and Cape town.
Before the age of DVDs and streaming, Pathe News delivered a jingoistic portrayal of British life and empire at the cinema prior to the main feature, even Florence who would never travel abroad in her life got this thing called the Empire.
A young civilian British couple heading off to Australia in 1900 for employment were not leaving British territory and anticipated a return visit once their long-service leave had built up to 6 weeks after 15 years. Even today Australians have a statutory right to accrue 6 weeks of paid long-service leave, though today they do not use it to visit the home country.
The British Empire permeated everyday life including employment, taxes and payslips, across social class. Only those with an undisclosed political agenda would promote a false version of our past.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
6 months ago

..and so many still don’t! As the whole thing was a kind of Wizardvof Oz scam it was only a matter of time..

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
6 months ago

There was no overnight event by any stretch of the imagination. Peak of empire was say 1870 and yet more international trade was still denominated in Sterling than the dollar until the mid 1950s.
The mantra “We want 8 and won’t wait” was a public slogan in 1908, this relates to a concern that Imperial Germany was building more battleships than the Britain at the time.
Peak geographical empire was 1920 but within just over a decade British civil servants were preparing the groundwork of Indian independence.
As late as 1975 if war broke out in the South Atlantic the independent republic of South Africa expected the Royal Navy to arrive in force, use their Simons Town naval base at which point a British Admiral would take charge of the combined naval forces by prior arrangement.
The Empire wound down more slowly than you think, if there was an “overnight” decline it was 1914 to 1918 when WWI debts precipitated a rapid decline.
The British military left Singapore in 1971 but an event that highlights the extended nature of the decline is that in 1949, when home life in Britain was threadbare and sugar rationed, the Royal Navy still had a considerable squadron of warships cruising around 100s of miles inland on the River Yangze spoiling for a fight with Chinese communists.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
6 months ago

I think Saudi Arabia should join in. And China and India. They must be affected too. Just too lazy, two-faced or cowardly to put some skin in the game.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
6 months ago

Any proper response, or just a cowardly down vote? Indian export costs to Europe up 80% since the escalation by the Houthi.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

It’s always our soldiers sent in to do the dirty work. Why can’t our political admin tell Old Joe + his crew to go do one.

James Kirk
James Kirk
6 months ago

post-imperial sense of national purpose
 or simply to guarantee American financial support when the British economy got into difficulties.”
Either will do although there’s no shortage of food banks in USA. Egypt, Saudi, UAE and Oman won’t take responsibility. They have the money but lack the fortitude, their hearts simply not in it. So here, or there, we are.