Sunday, August 31, 2008

By Jingo!

The development of the crisis in the Caucasus cannot help but lead me to recall the time when a jingoistic mob stoned the windows of my home because I dared speak against Turkish massacres in the Balkans. The mob wanted war with Russia, not Turkey, and to reprise the disaster of Crimea.

Sometimes in our relations with foreign countries we may feel in our hearts that there are no good people, no real Christian nations with whom we can deal. It is a mistake to rush into alliance in the belief that one nation or cause represents a lesser evil. Yes, alliances are sometimes necessary; but not immutable alliances that tie us irrevocably to nations with dubious practices and intentions that may be concealed from ourselves.

When I hear the British Prime Minister, the Queen's ghillie, speak, I am reminded of the song so memorably chanted by that mob:

The Dogs of War are loose and the rugged Russian Bear,

Full bent on blood and robbery, has crawled out of his lair,
It seems a thrashing now and then, will never help to tame,
The brute, and so he's bent upon the same old game.
The Lion did his best to find him some excuse,
To crawl back to his den again, all efforts were not use,
He hunger'd for his victim, he's pleased when blood is shed,
But let us hope his crimes may all recoil upon his head.

We don't want to fight, but by jingo if we do,

We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.
We've fought the Bear before, and while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

Mr Brown states: "When Russia has a grievance over an issue such as South Ossetia, it should act multilaterally by consent rather than unilaterally by force."
Mr Brown is quite correct in the content of his words but he has no authority to make this statement as he was part of a government that acted in folly and in defiance of the international community in making war.

He proceeds to state: "We are also reflecting on the Nato response. We must re-evaluate the alliance's relationship with Russia, and intensify our support to Georgia and others who may face Russian aggression."

As I have indicated previously I find this alarming. Just as did the fool Disraeli, Mr Brown now seeks to define foreign policy in opposition to Russia. NATO I understand was created to oppose Russia, a different Russia from that which now exists. Indeed NATO - or rather America and its allies - has declared other enemies, previously Iraq, now Iran. How many enemies is NATO going to have? Is Europe going to become again a beleaguered peninsula of the great Eurasian continent?

Russia is not the democracy we would wish it to be. It is a vexatious, irritable Bear and undoubtedly its scoundrel politicians resort to patriotism to exhort its people. But it is also the case that the leadership of Britain and of America is beleaguered and their people are suffering fear and hardship, not from external forces but from internal crises. As their misshapen policies bear rotten fruit, they too may see advantages in resorting to jingoism. Why are politicians competing to make enemies at a time when they need friends? Perhaps it is because they have squandered the respect and good will they held in the international community and it is time for them to be replaced.


1 comment:

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

I heard on your BBC last night that Mr. Brown said that normal relations with Russia would be impossible from this point on. I can't understand why. Are such relations also impossible with the United States, for we waged a war of aggression, unjustly and illegally, against a much weaker nation that did no harm, threatened no harm to us.

Russia's actions are quite bad, but hardly unexpected. Georgia's actions were far worse, and invited the Russian response. I fail to see where baiting the Russian bear in this way accomplishes anything other than looking tough. Does Gordon Brown believe that John McCain will be our next President, and is therefore playing to that audience? I do hope he isn't that delusional.