“Contrary to what one reads in the newspapers or hears on television, his manifesto is a well-argued and coherent critique of the foreign policy consensus which has done so much damage over the last quarter of a century.
“He is offering a serious alternative to the catastrophic system of cross-party politics that gave the world the Iraq, Afghan and Libyan calamities.
“His manifesto pledges to “commit to working through the UN” and to “end support for unilateral aggressive wars of intervention” . . . and has spoken out against the pattern of illegal intervention favoured by the United States and its allies”.
Corbyn has also had the moral courage to highlight the predicament of the Chagos Islanders, supporting their right to “return to their homelands”.
Corbyn bravely but correctly compares the British betrayal of the Chagossians – deprived of their Indian Ocean home as a result of a squalid deal between Britain and the US in the 1960s – with our national loyalty to the Falkland Islands, the South Atlantic territory that Britain sent a taskforce to recapture following an Argentinian invasion in 1982.
The Conservatives’ manifesto contains no specific foreign policy pledges and no mention of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Palestine or the Middle East at all
Oborne adds: “Under Cameron, and now Theresa May, Britain has thrown its weight behind the Saudi bombing campaign. I am afraid that Michael Fallon, who has proved a lightweight defence secretary, recently said that the murderous Saudi bombing raids have been carried out in “self-defence”. This comment was frankly obscene, and Fallon owes an apology to the thousands of Yemeni families who have been bereaved as a result of Saudi attacks”.
Corbyn promises to implement the will of parliament in a famous vote three years ago and recognise the state of Palestine. Arguably even more brave, he will demand “comprehensive, independent, UN-led investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition”.
Corbyn will also “suspend any further arms sales for use in the conflict until that investigation is concluded”.
The BBC, Oborne observes, has betrayed its own rules of impartiality and ignored Corbyn’s brave stand on this issue. As Mark Curtis has pointed out in a brilliant article, the BBC website carried only 10 articles on Yemen but 97 on Syria in the six weeks to 15 May “focusing on the crimes of an official enemy rather than our own”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s radical and brave manifesto is being traduced, misrepresented, and ignored by the establishment and its mouthpieces.
Oborne: “That is wrong – and a betrayal of British democracy”.
*Peter Oborne was named freelancer of the year 2016 by the Online Media Awards for an article he wrote for Middle East Eye. He was British Press Awards Columnist of the Year 2013. He resigned as chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph in 2015. His books include The Triumph of the Political Class, The Rise of Political Lying, and Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran.
A Moseley reader sent this link to an article by Peter Oborne. Passages relating to foreign policy are extracted
Since the rise of the modernisers, there has been a very troubling consensus on foreign affairs. Tory and Labour have agreed that, come what may, Britain would never defy the will of the United States. This consensus led Britain into the double follies of Afghanistan and Iraq, which was the biggest and most terrible foreign policy calamity of modern British history. When the Chilcot report is finally published, it is certain to provide deeply embarrassing details of how the British establishment fawned to Washington.
Elsewhere, there is abundant evidence that Tony Blair’s determination to appease the U.S. caused Britain to forget our values, and facilitate the torture of terror suspects.
While the worst of these excesses took place when Blair was PM, David Cameron has culpably failed to force an investigation into the British role in torture.
Let’s imagine, by contrast, that Jeremy Corbyn had been directing British foreign policy over the past 15 years. British troops would never have got involved in the Iraq debacle, and never have been dispatched on their doomed mission to Helmand province.
British intelligence agents would not be facing allegations that they were complicit in torture.
Hundreds of British troops who died in these Blairite adventures (which were endorsed by Cameron) would still be alive.
Furthermore, the world would now be a safer place. Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq and David Cameron’s attack on Libya have created huge ungoverned zones of anarchy across the Middle East and North Africa, in which terrorist groups fester and from which migrants flee.
Critical comments follow about John McDonnell, Corbyn’s attitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin, his ‘uncritical’ sharing of platforms with ‘unsavoury people from terrorist groups’ and his failure to recognise that there are times when foreign military intervention can work.
But these serious shortcomings apart, he has brought a wonderful freshness to British politics. And while he has many unpalatable things to say, many need saying. No one who is loathed by the bankers, the BBC and Tony Blair all at once can be that bad.
Corbyn is the first genuinely original party leader to emerge in Britain since a certain Margaret Hilda Thatcher made her first speech to Conservative conference in 1975. Remember: the establishment hated her, too.