LETTER: US, not Europe, is the big threat

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The Independent Online
Sir: Our election campaign has been fought, not only by the parties, but also by the British press, as if the main question in foreign policy facing a new government will be "Europe" - above all the dreadful threat of the single currency.

In practice the advantages of the European union are much the same for us as they are for France, and Stuart Whyte ("How to counter potential conflict in Europe", Letters, 26 April), rightly quotes President Chirac:

Let us never forget, that for half a century, for our old nations which have fought each other so much, Europe has meant peace.

But in Mr Whyte's letter the conclusion of one of M Chirac's points was left off. In the next few months, he reminded us, we have to set about building "a Europe respectful of the genius of its constituent nations and capable of competing with the great world entities" (emphasis added).

There has been a quite peculiar reluctance in the British press to look at what that great entity, the United States, is up to - particularly to notice that the US Senate is increasingly taking over the conduct of foreign and defence policy from its President. What this means for us remains unexplored.

In fact, the main next matter will be grappling with what the New York Times calls the "go-it-alone nationalists" now ascendant in the US Senate. They are now calling most of the shots in the sole military superpower's foreign policy.

From them has come the expansion of Nato and the new goading of Russia; the "reform" of the United Nations (including sacking the last secretary general); legislation claiming extraterritorial jurisdiction over countries which trade with Cuba or Iran and over China in relation to Hong Kong; special funding of the CIA for overseas "destabilisations"; and new military capabilities and doctrines for "rapid dominance", for "information warfare", for the weaponisation of space, and for military support for Netanyahu's provocations. International law does not figure; "rogue states" must be "punished" regardless of law or of UN Security Council resolutions.

The new British government will almost at once have to choose where we belong: with the United Nations and the international rule of law, or under "American leadership".


House of Lords

London SW1