surinder wrote:Rudradev wrote:
In all of these ways, Britain seeks to reverse the "West-vs-Islam" course that the "clash of civilizations" has taken over the past decade, and bring southern Central Asia back into the Western orbit at the least possible military cost to NATO
While I agree with most of what you say, there is one thing I think is important. I do not think UK is fighting for "Western" interests, it is fighting for UK's interests. UK would like to see other European and US slightly neutralized and subdued. It would not mind a low-intensity confict to sap European and US energies and keep them down, but would like to see themselves rise above. This is, if we look carefully, same as the old "Balance of Power" game. It wants to India balanced by TSP+PRC; US+Europe balanced by Islaemessts/Jeahadis, US balanced by PRC. Just like in the 18 & 19th century UK encouraged European conflict to maximize its power and remove competetors.
I don't think there's any contradiction.
If you look at how the British have fashioned a mythology around their own historical narrative, you will see that they consider themselves the inheritors of a continuous Western Imperium, that protects *all* Western Civilization, that represents and expands *all* Western Interests. They see themselves as the legates or civilizational descendants of Imperial Rome (obvious in such actions as co-opting the Roman Lion as an Imperial symbol, as well as in the works of a variety of authors from Gibbon to Macaulay). Interestingly, the Roman patricians in turn saw themselves as the inheritors of Ilium (the Kingdom of Troy)... so the idea of a continuous Western Imperium goes back at least as far as the Homeric epics.
This British Exceptionalism is no different from the Pakis seeing themselves as inheritors of a Mughal legacy, of course... but in the case of the British, it is fed into by a millenium of propaganda constructed around a myriad half truths, such as:
-Nobody has successfully invaded the home island of Great Britain, EVER, since 1066.
-The sun never set on the British Empire. The British were able to carry the influence of that Anglo-Saxon/Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman amalgam known as "Western Civilization" to territories and peoples around the known world, including many who had never encountered it before.
-British culture internalizing Kipling's ideas of the "White Man's Burden" and the manifest destiny of Britain to assume it.
-Of all the major European colonial powers, only the British were never kicked out by humiliating military defeat from a former colony since 1776 (unlike Spain from the Philippines and Cuba, France from Algeria and Vietnam, the Netherlands from Indonesia, the Portuguese from Goa etc.)
-The British believe they were the "leader" of Allied Europe during WW2, as the only European nation that didn't get invaded during that conflict, and as the chief arbitrators who successfully persuaded America to intercede against Germany during that war.
-Even today as a tiny island nation, they remain aloof from the European Union, believing it is their place to lead rather than to cooperate.
-They are still, despite their tiny size, a permanent member of the UNSC, and hold a submarine-based strategic nuclear arsenal capable of striking anywhere on earth.
-They share more cultural and civilizational values in common with the American "Hyperpower" than with any of their European neighbours. (The Americans, for their part, have a tendency to worship all things British with a nauseating obsequiousness. You might have seen this American "deference" manifest even at the popular level, as a servile fascination for anyone with a British accent, if you've spent time in the USA).
-They share a "special relationship" with the Americah Hyperpower, which they believe translates into great influence over Washington's foreign policy. In the case of the CIA and the State Department, this is at least partially true.
So when Britain wants to be the guy who deals with the Saudis and Taliban so that NATO can go home from Afghanistan and Central Asia returns to the Western orbit etc.... they aren't doing this out of any altruistic purpose. They want to claim credit for carrying forward the leadership role in Western Civilization that Imperial Rome once assumed. However, for all their hubris they are well aware that they need the Americans to be their muscle, and to punch in the same weight class as Russia or China. So they're unlikely to do anything that directly weakens or exercises detrimental effects on America, IMHO.