In 1914, Britain drifted into a catastrophic war which destroyed almost an entire generation of educated young men. We drifted into it at least partly, perhaps mainly, because everybody in Britain, in 1913 and 1914, was so excited about Irish Home Rule, the House of Lords, the budget, the trade unions and the female franchise that no one paid any serious attention to developments in Europe.
In UKIP now, everybody is so excited about leadership issues, the party constitution and the possibility that the May Government may water down Brexit that they are scarcely talking about another feature of the new government’s policy. The May government has, if anything intensified the Cameron government’s total and unconditional support for the U.S. policy of confrontation with Russia. And this new Cold War is steadily getting hotter.
How is it that twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has drifted into a situation more dangerous than the nuclear stalemate of 1950-1990? Is there anything that we in Britain can do about it? Must we just watch the U.S. presidential debate and hope that the candidate who offers at least some hope, will win? Are we completely at the mercy of forces beyond our control – forces which might destroy the world we live in?
UKIP stands for the United Kingdom Independence Party. After herculean efforts, almost entirely by UKIP, Britain looks set soon to be free of rule from Brussels. But will Britain outside the EU will be any more truly independent than we were before the referendum? Are we not still ruled from Washington? The future of our children and grandchildren – their very existence, perhaps – may be imperiled by our failure to rid ourselves of American control. What are we going to do about it? If Britain does not act, who will? And in Britain, if we in UKIP do not act, who will?
Let’s forget, briefly, about our own relatively petty concerns, and remember recent history. During the first Cold War, two superpowers, evenly matched in military terms, divided the world. Both possessed the nuclear capacity to destroy the other. But each knew the power of the other; and each was governed by rational men who were fully aware of the responsibility this placed on their shoulders. As time went on, they learned to respect each other and to some degree to work together. There were some very nasty moments – particularly the Cuban Missile Crisis – but issues which became too dangerous were resolved. Superpower rivalry continued, proxy wars continued in Viet Nam, in Angola and elsewhere. But the USA and the USSR respected and (to some degree) trusted each other and neither side behaved too dangerously.
After the Suez crisis, it had become much more difficult for Britain to pursue an independent foreign and defence policy. But we were not entirely subdued. When the Vietnam war was fought, Washington put every possible pressure on the Harold Wilson government to join in. Australia (which is nearer to Vietnam) joined in, but Britain did not. When Margaret Thatcher fought the Falklands War, America gave Britain some limited and grudging support.
The first Cold War ended, the USSR ceased to exist and no longer appeared on one side of the equation. The USA seemed to have achieved total world domination. At first, it seemed that all would be well. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. But then it became clear that NATO – the counterpart pact of the West – was not going to be dissolved. On the contrary, it spread steadily eastwards towards a weak and temporarily helpless Russia. The USA continued spending as much on “Defence” as the rest of the world put together. The powerful military-industrial complex looked for new markets and new enemies to fight. And Britain continued its full involvement in NATO.
Since 9/11, the USA has embarked on a series of unjustified and aggressive attacks on Middle-Eastern countries. Iraq and Libya were reduced to chaos. Amidst that chaos, extremist Muslim forces dedicated to Muslim world dominance came into existence and have horrified the world with their atrocities. Large numbers of refugees have fled their homes. The extremists invaded Syria and it became clear that Syria was also next on the list for American regime change.
Under New Labour, all pretense of British national independence was abandoned. When Washington embarked on its catastrophic policy of conquering Iraq, Tony Blair not only supported Bush; he encouraged him; he helped him to answer his critics. The knowledge that he had full British support gave Bush considerable moral help at home. Respect for Britain (undeserved as it has become) is still there in the world and particularly in America.
David Cameron continued the same policy of total subordination to Washington. And now, it seems, the May government will do the same. We may be happy about May’s EU policy, or we may not. But can we possibly be happy about her foreign and defence policy? And if not, what are we going to do about it? Are we the United Kingdom Independence Party, or are we not?