Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Whose Foreign Policy Is It?

My article, "Whose Foreign Policy Is It?", was published on The Guardian's website yesterday.

The article talks about the "democratic deficit" whereby the fundamentals of British foreign policy are consistently at odds with the wishes of the public. It discusses the way in which policymaking is disproportionately subject to pressures from vested interests, and describes some of the ways in which that influence is exerted.

Here's an excerpt:

"While few people would expect every government policy to precisely reflect majority public opinion, it is hard to see what is democratic about a British foreign policy whose very fundamentals – agreed by both Labour and the Conservatives – are consistently opposed by voters.

In February 2003, more than 90% of Britons opposed Tony Blair's government joining the invasion of Iraq in the absence of a second UN resolution. As we know, the invasion went ahead the following month without such a resolution being passed. Three years later, 63% thought Blair had tied Britain too closely to the Bush White House. In the same poll, 61% opposed the assault on Lebanon that Israel was undertaking at that time – an assault that was nevertheless effectively supported by Britain."

You can read the whole article here.

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