Greenstock’s words have serious implications, not just for the UK’s position in the United Nations, but for David Cameron’s plan to negotiate us into the backwaters of the EU (where nobody will listen to us) and his pointless demand for air strikes in Syria (that will have as much effect as our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan).
The way Cameron’s Conservatives – and his Coalition before them – have diminished the UK’s standing in the world should be expected to upset Tory supporters more than their opponents; Tories like to enjoy the fantasy that Britannia still “rules the waves” and remains a major player in world affairs.
That bubble is being pricked. How will they react?
One of Britain’s most eminent former diplomats has described the country as a fading power, saying that cuts to the Foreign Office have undermined its standing on the world stage.
As the UN security council celebrates its 70th birthday on Sunday, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, a former British ambassador to the United Nations, said this and the previous government had shown a worrying lack of concern for foreign affairs, which had hurt Britain’s standing abroad.
“It has always been in the traditions of the UK to be part of the search for global solutions. I don’t get the same feeling from the last government or this government. Immediate domestic concerns are coming first and foremost.
“We are not so much a power any more, our relative power has faded, put us into the shade. The Foreign Office is constantly being cut, our military being cut,” he said. “The number of armed forces has gone down, our contribution to peacekeeping is negligible, we haven’t succeeded in our interventions in Iraq, in Afghanistan.”
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