he sad truth about the hopeless mess in Afghanistan is that Dominic Raab would have been no less relevant if he had been in a leather chair in Whitehall rather than a lounge chair in Crete. In a way, Mr. Raab has done the nation a service. A foreign minister asleep on a lounge chair is the perfect visual metaphor for British foreign policy after Brexit and the demise of America’s desire to control the world.
For half a century, British foreign policy has been conducted as a staunch ally of a great power, the United States, and as part of the world’s largest trading bloc, the European Union. Both alliances are now threadbare. Relations with the United States have been bad for some time. There is no love lost between President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson. And Britain left the EU on bad terms in pursuit of the weak pretext of world Britain. In its first diplomatic test, Global Britain is revealed to be two words without content.
In economic terms, global Britain is supposed to lead to a flurry of trade deals brokered by the indefatigable Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, which together will represent only a fraction of the lost trade. of our departure from the European Union. single market. In diplomatic terms, Global Britain was meant to involve our ardent advocacy for liberal democracy in the internal chambers of the world.
This week, the withdrawal of NATO’s residual presence in Afghanistan took place without any British minister even on the calls, all of which passed through Washington. As Theresa May told the Commons: “Where is world Britain in the streets of Kabul? The answer is, it was nowhere. The last British combat troops were withdrawn seven years ago. We didn’t count.
Worse than that, Afghanistan is the final collapse of hope that Western liberal democracies are ready to act in concert to uphold the ideals they claim to be attached to.
The disastrous turn of events in Iraq has indeed dashed the hopes raised by the successful interventions in Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Since Iraq, foreign policy has fallen back into a binary question of “good or bad intervention?” The truth is, every case is different. Libya was more different from Iraq than it was and Syria was different again. Yet the apparent lesson of failure has, from Iraq, ruled out any possibility of action.
Writer Anne Applebaum suggested, convincingly in my opinion, that liberal democracy is worth fighting. The Biden administration does not seem to agree. He returned Afghanistan to the medieval extremists he expelled 20 years ago. The people who were hanging on to American planes when departing were a terrible omen that Afghanistan was to become again.
The winners, as America withdraws and Britain recedes into oblivion, will be all who wish us harm – the Russians are considering further skirmishes on their borders and the Chinese are wondering if an invasion of Taiwan would provoke a reaction from the Americans. The other effect of the return of the Taliban, apart from the horrific daily experience for the people, especially women, of Afghanistan, is that it encourages tyrants and aggressors everywhere.
Since 2010, British foreign policy has been a mess. David Cameron tried to breathe new life into commercialism, putting diplomacy at the service of trade. William Hague gave a series of network speeches that left no one aware of Britain’s role in the world. Boris Johnson played the fool on the world stage and Dominic Raab decided to take a vacation. The neo-conservatives are retreating and they have been replaced by the conservatives. They will soon find that you don’t necessarily have a quiet life just because you want one.
What do you think of the way Britain handled the crisis in Afghanistan? Let us know in the comments below.