A Self-Interested British Foreign Policy

Britain is not a charity, although you wouldn’t be wrong to think that for too long the British state has been acting like one. Nowhere is this more evident than in our foreign policy. Trillions of pounds of British taxes have been spent in foreign lands in the pursuit of ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’ and ‘doing what is right’. More than a million British lives have been lost since WW1 in wars and battles that have never once been fought by British men, on this island.

British foreign policy for the last century has been either to defend other countries and ensure their independence or to topple autocratic regimes and install a version of wholesome Westminster democracy on a populace that has been in a constant state of tribal fighting and state instability for the last 500 years (Iraq). The only conflict we have fought in the last 100 years which was directly in our interests was the Falklands War, which was retaking British lands that had been invaded.

WW1 was an awful waste of life, Britain had basically no interest in fighting, and our primary goal was ensuring independence for another country (Belgium) because we had a treaty with them that was signed all the way back in 1839, and to defend and maintain France as a European power. Sure, we had some interest in expanding our presence in the Middle East and breaking up the Turkish Empire but Britain’s main goals were clear as set out by Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1918:

'Most reluctantly, and indeed quite unprepared for the dreadful ordeal, we were forced to join in this war in self-defence. In defence of the violated public law of Europe, and in vindication of the most solemn treaty obligation on which the public system of Europe rested, and on which Germany had ruthlessly trampled in her invasion of Belgium, we had to join in the struggle or stand aside and see Europe go under and brute force triumph over public right and international justice. It was only the realisation of that dreadful alternative that forced the British people into the war.'

British men had no interest or fight in what was a European war, Britain is not a European nation, we occupy our own land and our own space, and we have and always will be separate. Generations of British men were sent to die to restore independence to a foreign land, all because a few members of Britain’s ruling class signed a Treaty in 1839 to defend another country.

Britain’s subsequent involvement in the Russian Civil War was not popular at home and many thought at the time, what I am writing now, the Daily Express newspaper wrote this in January 1919:

'the frozen plains of eastern Europe are not worth the bones of a single grenadier'.

The Third-Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, when the Emirate of Afghanistan invaded India was another war in a far-off land that ultimately was in vain when India was given independence in 1947. The British ruling class had allowed men to die for a region they just gave away less than 30 years later. In the context of the Empire, our expansion of land and resources wasn’t even developed to its full extent, our foreign policy even when engaged in imperialism was to take the land and then just leave it effectively undeveloped. In 1918, the Empire supplied only 2% of the world’s production, and Britain relied on the US for 80% of its supplies. What is the point of owning colonies if you do not use them to your advantage?

The Anglo-Irish War, also in 1919, which resulted in the independence of Southern Ireland, was avoidable. The population of Ireland at that time was around 3 million, compared to Britain’s population of around 42 million. The British government could have paid Brits to move to Ireland, to eventually change the demographics but also to establish an immediate base of support. They could have banned Sinn Fein from elections, they could have paid Irish men and women to move to Britain or elsewhere in the empire. Ultimately the appetite for action was in short supply after WW1, Britain was a broken country, and the ruling class and by extension the public (leadership comes from the top) did not have the stamina to fight for Ireland. Instead, we have a situation now in which Britain protects and pledges to defend Ireland, an effective protectorate, in a one-sided agreement, favouring Ireland.

The two other conflicts before WW2 consisted of revolts in the Middle East, the Iraqi revolt in 1920, and the Arab revolt in 1936. These conflicts were both a result of Britain’s role in WW1, in which the territory previously controlled by the defeated powers was divided between the victors. What interest did Britain have in the Middle East, our main objective was to keep and protect trade routes by land and sea not just for the Middle East but for India too. When the territories were formalised as mandates by the League of Nations at the San Remo Conference in 1920, the ‘mandates’ were defined as ‘inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world’. So Britain was propping up infant nations with little benefit. However, we did get around half of Iraq’s oil reserves under the Red Line Agreement in 1928, and Iraq was granted independence in 1932. The Hashemite monarchy that subsequently ruled Iraq kept close relations with Britain and supported the allies in WW2, they were overthrown in 1958, which led to the Iraq we know today.

Britain entered WW2 to defend and protect Poland after it had been invaded in 1939. In contrast to popular belief, we had no such treaty or agreement with Poland as we did with Belgium in 1914. Britain alongside France pledged to guarantee and defend Polish independence after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, deciding that the policy of appeasement had not been effective and to ensure that Nazi Germany did not feel emboldened to gain further European territory and by extension threaten British hegemony. It has been written many times, but it is worth repeating, Britain did not fight WW2 to stop the holocaust.

Britain’s reasoning in these wars so far has been to defend other nations, protect trade routes and ensure a power balance in Europe. You may believe these reasons are justified, but do they justify the deaths of one million British men? Is a trade route worth the death of a million men? What did the people of Britain gain from these wars? Very little, ‘protecting the trade routes’ meant that Britain’s GDP didn’t recover from 1918 when it was £222bn, until 1934 when it rose to £223bn. A stagnant, and at times declining economy for 16 years.

Britain spent nearly £3trn on WW1 and WW2. What did we get for that? We are no longer the great power we once were, we don’t even get a thanks anymore. We impoverished ourselves for decades, we didn’t finish paying the loans off to America until 2006. Our economy stagnated, we lost an empire, and we are pushed around by America. And Germany, a country we beat, has been richer than us since the 1970s.

Arguably the only war we have waged in our own direct interests besides the Falklands War was the invasion of Egypt for control of the Suez Canal alongside Israel and France. This, as we all know, ended in humiliation, Britain was chastened by America and it solidified us as being under their thumb permanently.

Alternative history is interesting, if Britain had not fought in WW1 and WW2, it would not have had to rely on America for economic support, and it would have had the independence to act accordingly. Britain could have developed India, Cyprus, Fiji, Malta, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, The Bahamas, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand. In the coming Meritocracy, perhaps Britain could regain some of these nations.

Since WW2, Britain has fought in even more conflicts than the few I have just quickly gone through, Sierra Leone, the Korean War, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Again, Britain gained almost nothing from engaging in these conflicts, we joined many simply as the underling of America.

The doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ combined with the determination to protect the independence of foreign nations has guided Britain’s foreign policy. The British Court has waged war with zero direct interest to Britain, paid for using your taxes and your son’s and daughter’s lives.

They are doing the same right now in Ukraine. Whilst yes, we are not at war with Russia, we are sending billions of pounds (that we cannot afford) to prop up a country that we have no allegiance to. Russia is not our enemy, they have not attacked Britain. It’s perfectly acceptable and preferable to state that Russia is not our enemy, but they are not our friend either, we treat them with suspicion, but we do not escalate a conflict with them. Why are we fighting a European war? We do not border any of these countries. In their pursuit of all that is good and a handshake from Zelensky, the British ruling class is pushing this country into a war that we have nothing to do with. That is not their right.

What does Britain get from supporting Ukraine? Are we getting free potatoes and free Uranium (to power those proposed nuclear reactors) for the next 99 years from their agriculture and mining industries? No, what we are getting is Ukraine in the EU (becoming a closed market), a ruined economy with some of the highest energy bills in the world, and an antagonised Russia (the country with the most nuclear warheads in the world). At least in WW1, we got some land in the Middle East, we get nothing in return for our support of Ukraine.

Taking in hundreds of thousands of migrants has many downsides but one of them is that they remain loyal to the country they have left. This is understandable of course, but from a British interest perspective, it is unhelpful. Because now we have, for example, Iranians protesting outside of the British parliament every other weekend calling for Britain to intervene in Iran. We have Ukranians pushing for further support for Ukraine, and the list goes on. Foreign citizens are lobbying the British state to intervene in their home conflicts. Our politicians love this, it makes them feel like Churchill in 1940. But again, there is zero benefit to the people of Britain.

Britain is not a charity, we are an independent island nation-state, we must protect, defend and elevate our own interests. Anyone working in the Foreign Office should be thinking at all times ‘How does this benefit Britain?’ whenever they make a decision. Instead what we have are people who should be working for the UN or a charity rather than working in the British Foreign Office. We have civil servants and wannabe politicians who when asked why they want to work in the Foreign Office or why they want to be Foreign Secretary say the same thing, ‘to promote HOOMAN RITES, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY’. Tony Blair is perhaps the greatest example of this, a man who stated:

'We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not.'

Well, actually, we aren’t. British politicians are the best at just accepting a situation, with no thought that perhaps they could do something to change it. Nothing is static and everything can be changed. The national interest must always trump the international interest.

A rethink of British foreign policy must prioritise British interests and put them first. We cannot afford to be a humanitarian charity whilst gaining nothing in return. With NATO expanding, this rethink must come sooner rather than later.

You have free articles remaining this month. Subscribe and support us for unlimited access. You will be redirected to the subscribe page once you have reached the limit.