Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why must Britain always try to 'punch above her weight'?

World View: Getting sucked into America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was the result of our delusions of influence. Now we're repeating the mistakes in Libya

By Patrick Cockburn

"The horrible Foreign Office cliché, used for decades by diplomats and politicians to justify Britain's military alliance with the US, claims that "it enables Britain to punch above her weight internationally". A moment's reflection on this dictum should lead to the conclusion that a boxer who persists in getting into the ring with bigger opponents is likely to end up in hospital.

Britain has become involved in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya over the past decade and none has gone well politically or militarily. The Iraq war divided Britain far more and for longer than almost any conflict, including the Suez crisis. The British Army spent years failing to get control of Basra and the area around it. For all this commitment, Britain never had much influence on US policy in Iraq or the rest of the Middle East.

Afghanistan has seen a repeat of the pattern...."

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