Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Power and morality

Foreign policy is often dressed up in moral rhetoric, but ultimately might is stronger than right

Martin Jacques, Wednesday July 23, 2008

"You may remember that Robin Cook, newly appointed as Britain's foreign secretary back in 1997, promised to introduce an "ethical foreign policy". Such talk disappeared long ago, brought to an abrupt end by the illegalities and immorality of the invasion of Iraq.

I was reminded of Cook's efforts by Gordon Brown's address yesterday to the Israeli Knesset, where he uttered barely any criticisms of Israel and fulminated long and hard against Iran and its alleged nuclear policy. I have a serious problem with western hypocrisy over Iran and the bomb. We are against nuclear proliferation and yet no one breathes a word about the fact that Israel has many nuclear weapons, and has had them for a long time. So, why not Iran? One might add that Israel has always lived by the sword in the Middle East but the same cannot be said of Iran.....

Recently the international criminal court (ICC) charged the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir with war crimes in Darfur. That the Sudanese regime has behaved with considerable barbarity in Darfur is beyond question. But again I find myself troubled by the moral logic of the argument. The biggest war criminals of recent years are President George Bush and former premier Tony Blair. They have been responsible for the death of more than 700,000 Iraqis as a result of the war, countless grave injuries, massive displacement and a serious deterioration in the conditions of life. Perversely, notwithstanding their crimes against humanity, they have not yet been charged by the ICC......"

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