Before spending more on defence, we should reconsider our standing in the world

Please send your letters to letters@independent.co.uk

<p>Boris Johnson this week announced an increase in defence spending</p>

Boris Johnson this week announced an increase in defence spending

Before boosting military spending (“Defence spending plans show a serious mismatch between what the government wants and what it can actually achieve,” 20 November), we need to mentally unshackle ourselves from the so-called “special relationship”.

The problem with America is less Trump and more its transformation since the end of the Cold War into a rogue state. America uniquely and terrifyingly combines being armed to the teeth with a belief that it is ordained to impose its values on the world.

It is characterised by an insatiable and bellicose urge to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction. International law as practised by the west is to accede to America the role of “globocop”, as well as judge and jury. Worse still, America is allowed to make up law as it goes along. So much for a rules-based international order. It’s as if Lord Acton’s dictum – absolute power corrupts absolutely – only applies to lesser entities, such as China and Russia.

Realpolitik cries out for a multi-polar world with its checks and balances. This is not based on moral equivalence. It’s an acknowledgement of the need to temper well-intentioned, but all too often, dangerous temptations inherent in the human condition. To paraphrase Palmerston, there are neither eternal allies nor perpetual enemies. Britain and the EU should rethink their geopolitical priorities.

Yugo Kovach

Winterborne Houghton, Dorset 

From the government announcements this week, do we gather that a not inconsiderable sum is being invested in driverless, electric-powered tanks?

Andy Wilson

Winscombe

Giuliani’s hairy moment

Spare a thought for the people working directly for Donald Trump. His failure to concede to Joe Biden must be really turning the heat up on them. So much so that his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani – before our eyes in a televised press conference – seemed to be visibly melting.

Roger Hinds

Surrey

The true meaning of Christmas

I read Kate Townshend’s article, “Call me Scrooge, but I’m not sure Boris Johnson should save Christmas after all” (18 November). What a load of rubbish! Was your birthday cancelled because you couldn’t party with your family and friends this year? Of course not. Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ, not a commercial bonanza. It’s not cancelled – we may just have to celebrate it in a more thoughtful way this year and think more about it’s true meaning. 

Tony Shephard

Shropshire

Reconsidering student refunds

We refer to the recent article, "University students call for tuition fee refunds amid government ‘mistreatment’ during pandemic" (18 November). It is understandable that some students, who paid full fees expecting at least a hybrid teaching mode, would want a partial refund when it turns out that their courses are now delivered entirely online.

However, surely there are some students who have joined the refund petition not for the right reasons. These include opportunistic students who crowdfunded their fees online or from other means via private donations or scholarships. It is questionable if those students have sufficient justifications and personal stakes to ask for refunds and/or even incite other students to join petitions.

Most importantly, there is presently no  mechanism of accountability to make sure those students will and can feasibly give back the private donations to thousands of donors on crowdfunding websites. Universities and student campaign groups should be aware of this issue.

Martin Kwan and Wilson So

Hong Kong

Not looking Priti

On Mental Health Day this year, the health secretary Matt Hancock tweeted that “it’s so important that we look out for each other”.

It would appears that the Home Office didn’t get the memo. Leaks of the investigation into Priti Patel suggest there is compelling evidence of her bullying civil servants. In any private sector organisation she would be very lucky to keep her job. It is time for her to be sacked.

Chris Key

Whatever happened to tolerance in this country?

I am deeply ashamed to read this article about the black family in the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert (“The outrage over Sainsbury’s Christmas ad with a black family proves it: racism in the UK never stopped,” 18 November).

I long to live in a country which celebrates diversity and racial differences. Whatever happened to tolerance and love for our fellow man.

Ann Ford

Altrincham

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in