28 September 2010

Britain - a sensible new foreign policy?

The speech by Britain's deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, to the UN General Assembly appeared to set out a new foreign policy for the U.K., a policy along much more civilized lines than that of the infamous Tony Blair and his New Labour government.

Clegg stated, for instance, that "The United Kingdom will also show leadership by example. As fierce advocates of the international rule of law, we will practice what we preach. No nation can insist on the law, and then act as though it is above it." This is of particular interest given Clegg's belief, vigorously stated in the British House of Commons, that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. It should also mean that Britain will provide less encouragement to the United States for its gratuitous military adventurism.

He also promised that Britain would be more multilateral in its approach to international issues. Consistent with this, he suggested the UN Security Council add permanent seats for Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and Africa.

Clegg declared that terrorism and conflict are best dealt with by debate and persuasion, insisting that "Democracy cannot be created by diktat." The UN Human Rights Council, he suggested, should be strengthened to deal with "outrageous abuse" of human rights. A greater emphasis on peaceful means of expanding democracy and human rights throughout the world, particularly through the offices of the UN, will be welcome after New Labour's self-righteous militarism.

This new approach, suitable to a Liberal Democratic party and indicative of his party's influence in Britain's coalition government, is a pleasing change indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment