Since Brexit, Britain has become the new pariah in Europe. Despite the much celebrated European chivalry, Theresa May is treated with the full force of chauvinism at the European forums. Amidst the warm camaraderie amongst the European leaders, May is left standing awkwardly, tugging at her sleeves, without so much as a polite smile to put her at ease. One could say, Britain has got internationally isolated – as apparently Sri Lanka was during the Rajapaksa administration.
However, May is refusing to bow down to the pressures of been sent to Coventry. Just as Mahinda Rajapaksa did, she is determined to show her one time allies that there is more to the international community than the West led white boys’ club. She is trying very hard to make fresh inroads with countries as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
In fact she just concluded a £100 million warplane deal with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. UK’s largest military contractor BAE Systems will collaborate with the Turkish companies to build the custom-made Turkish warplane – the TF-X. Though she said that this deal will renew the good relations the two countries enjoy and will create job opportunities, securing “prosperity for decades to come,” for both countries, her real intention is to show the world that UK can still attract lucrative deals even without the European Union. She is also hoping that this will lead to other similar deals. UK is particularly hoping to become Turkey’s main defense provider. May and Erdogan had already agreed to work on the possibility of a bilateral trade deal after Brexit.
With none of these countries credited for their human rights records, Britain’s choice of current company expose them fully of their holier-than-thou hypocrisy. Erdogan’s government is accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian, which has resulted in the imprisoning of thousands of political dissidents and protestors.
However, UK has taken the position that Turkey’s human rights record is a completely different issue. They are studiously focusing on the fact that Turkey is an important NATO partner. Thus, UK is insisting that it is purely on the line of security and defense that UK is cooperating with Turkey.
Bereft of their once powerful white boys’ club’s company, Turkey’s importance to UK has significantly increased. This is apparent when May declares solidarity with Turkey’s democracy and its institutions. She reminds that UK stood by the Turkish government during the attempt coup on July 15 last year. Thus, her request from Turkey to be proportionate and in line with international human rights obligations is done gently and with great diplomacy.
UK continues to be a main arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, despite the humanitarian crisis created by Saudi-led coalition’s bombarding Yemen. The coalition is accused of bombing “multiple international hospitals run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as schools, wedding parties and food factories,” report The Independent. According to the report, “It signed off £3.3bn of arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the first year of the country’s bombardment of Yemen, which includes £2.2bn-worth of so-called ML10 licenses – equipment including drones, helicopters, and other aircraft. A further £1.1bn-worth of ML4 licenses were also issued – relating to bombs, missiles, grenades, and countermeasures. The UK additionally signed off £430,000 of licenses for armoured vehicles and tanks.”
These weapons the Labor Leader, Jeremy Corbyn pointed out, were likely used to violate international law. He directly linked the ongoing refugee crisis to these weapons sales “to the very part of the world that most immediately threatens our security…are being used to commit crimes against humanity in Yemen, as has been clearly detailed by the UN and other independent agencies.”
However May is of the view that in dealing with terrorism and counter-terrorism, it is the strength of the relationship maintained with Saudi Arabia that will keep Britain safe. Britain is, just as with Turkey, very cautious with Saudi and does not want to jump to any assumptions. According to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, as evidence of Saudi war crimes, which would be a key test for halting sales, is not yet seen.
On the other hand, UK et el is taking an extremely hardline and relentless position on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes. They are demanding not only on investigating these allegations, but also to ensure the credibility of these investigations that they too must be part of both the investigations and the prosecutions. The obvious inference from these two contradictory positions UK is maintaining is that when war is translating into a lucrative business, mere allegations on human rights violations will not suffice. It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for business to end. Human rights only becomes an issue only if there is no business value for Britain.
Even though Corbyn brought attention to the role Britain is playing in the Yemen crisis, his bigger issue with May is her reaching for Donald Trump. He is not alone in this contention. Many British lawmakers are already balking at May’s invitation to Trump to make a State visit to UK later in the year.
Reuters report that more than 1.8 million British people “have signed a petition calling for Trump’s planned visit to be canceled or downgraded to avoid embarrassing Queen Elizabeth.” The speaker of the lower House of Parliament too had voiced his opposition to Trump addressing the parliament during his State visit. This is been supported by more than 150 lawmakers, who had signed a symbolic motion to deny Trump the honor of speaking in parliament.
Their reason is very clear: they find Trump’s executive order temporary banning refugees and people from seven Muslim countries offensive. House of Commons speaker John Bercow strongly feels, “our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations.” His sentiments are resonated worldwide and has even led to massive protests in London.
Interestingly, in 2011 Barack Obama was bestowed the honor to be the first U.S. president to speak in both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall. He shares this honor with Nelson Mandela and Charles de Gaulle. How those who are shedding copious tears for these seven Muslim nations missed the role Obama played in destabilizing these countries is indeed curious. He waged war against these countries for longer than any other U.S. president and ordered at least 10 times the drone strikes than George W Bush.
He took out Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who was keeping extremists under a tight lid. Since his unceremonious removal, it has come to light that Gaddafi was an important source of information to the CIA for their counter-terrorism tasks. ISIS is a direct result of removing such leaders.
It is this cumulative effect that saw in the recent years the unprecedented refugee crisis since World War II. In fact, just days before Obama left Office, he received an 18-page letter from the 9/11 self-proclaimed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was written in January 2015, but was only delivered two years later when a military judge ordered the Guantanamo – where Mohammed is detained – to deliver it.
Mohammed is very specific that 9/11 is the result of mayhem successive American presidents can wreaked in Muslim countries. Though he had been waterboarded 183 times and is been kept in a secret CIA prison with no hope of every walking free again, he expresses absolutely no regret over 9/11.
Thus, it is not only Obama, but America had been destroying other nations for a very long time. They are the only nation to have used nuclear bombs (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and chemical warfare (Vietnam). Furthermore, they had been influencing democracy and directly with regime changing to rid stable governments and its leaders to either install weak puppet governments or let extremists and terrorists to take over. Somehow, the world was able to excuse America and its leaders for these gross injustices. In that backdrop, the world condemnation over a temporary ban is really ludicrous.
This ban has rubbed so many people in the wrong way that a federal judge had enforced a temporary ban on the ban. While number of judges have moved to overthrow the executive order, finding it both unlawful and unconstitutional, this federal judgement was the first to affect the entire America. This has sparked an already raging debate with the Trump’s team exclaiming that these judgements are not helping the situation.
Tucker Carlson from Fox News talked to couple of key activists from American Civil Liberties Union to try and shed some light to this confusion. One activist has proclaimed that this ban is an abdication of American values. Tucker asked him what exact values America has departed from, he was unable to answer. Currently, according to the UN, there are 60 million people who are fleeing from their countries due to various persecutions, including collapsing economies. He was asked how American values would help decide to select from these refugees. Again, he could not answer.
From another activist, he asked why should America consider refugees from countries like Somalia and Yemen that U.S. has no direct dealings with; why does U.S. has a moral obligation to consider refugees from Syria and where does this obligation stems from and how does absorbing these refugees from the seven nations listed by the Obama regime as dangerous states benefit America.
The activist replied that America as a role model has to step up to these crisis situations and not expect its allies to do carry the entire burden. Tucker pointed out that America is helping the situation in a countless ways and therefore it is wrong to state that America is not doing its part, just because they are not invited into the country.
The activist tried to argue that it was in the national interest of America to allow these people into the country. The ISIS, he says, offers the average Muslim two choices: either fight with them against America or die. America can offer a third choice by asking them to fight alongside Americans. They thus become terrorist targets and America has an obligation to allow them into the country. This Tucker pointed out was an exception rather than a general application.
According to the activist, this ban has given much fodder to the ISIS. Tucker then asked how much of ISIS recruitment can be reduced by revoking the ban, the activist could not answer. These activists who are educated professionals clearly demonstrated they do not know why this ban should be revoked.
If it is to stop ISIS, then they should be focusing more on cutting off the terrorists’ funding and getting rid of the scourge. Then, none who fought against terrorism needs to leave their soil in need of protection. They would, after all, be heroes as our military is treated by us for getting rid of the LTTE. That is of course, only if these people fought alongside America in a genuine effort to eradicate terrorism and not in a dubious manner against their own countries.
One cannot forget the efforts of the Obama regime to save Prabakaran and the rest of the LTTE leadership. Had they succeeded, Prabakaran would not be treated as a state guest, but it is unlikely he would face The Hague either, especially if he agreed to ‘fight alongside the U.S.’. At the very least his family would be awarded refugee status.
Prabakaran did not build a wall, but something much worse through booby trapped and mined trenches. He deliberately trapped hundreds of thousands of civilians and turned that area into a battleground. In a bid to increase international pressure, he wanted as much civilian casualties as possible. It is to this man, Obama tried to extend a helping hand.
Prabakaran is not alone in trapping civilians behind concentrated areas. In the Sahara desert is the Wall of Shame, preventing the trapped civilians from reuniting with their families in the Western Sahara. Apparently, it is one of the longest walls in the world and is secured with barbed wire, trenches and minefields. These activists who pelt Trump for his ban and wall maintain the same stoic silence on this Wall of Shame as they did with Prabakaran’s trenches.
It is interesting that Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was identified as a nationalist, was likened to Hitler. Trump, again identified as a man of the masses, is identified with Hitler. May, who is trying to renegotiate better trade terms for her country is shunned. Putin and Assad are ostracized. Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, who tried to introduce Gold Dinar and eliminate the regional poverty were killed. Yet, Prabakaran who brought so much misery to the whole country with utter barbarism had never been likened to Hitler. Instead, some are convinced that he must be addressed as ‘Mister’. Clearly, nationalism is a bigger threat to civilization than terrorism.