Die militante Rhetorik von Liz Truss ist ein weiteres Zeichen für Großbritanniens Größenwahn

A rabid neoconservative, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss sees world affairs as an all-out ideological struggle between “democracy” and “authoritarianism,” and appears to have succumbed to the heat of the Cold War.

A commentary by Timur Fomenko

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s campaign against China and Russia shows that London appears to have gone insane. In a recent held lecture their statements bordered on wishing for a simultaneous war against Russia and China. Truss first called for “expelling Russia from all of Ukraine” and described the conflict as “our war”.

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Then she devoted herself to China and teased towards Beijing that China’s rise “is not inevitable”. She called for China to “stick to the rules” and even argued that NATO should defend Taiwan “if necessary”. Truss again called for a “network of freedom” and urged avoiding economic dependency on undesirable countries – again a clear dig at Russia and China.

Luckily, and despite the political climate we find ourselves in, none of their pompous clichés have any serious basis in reality. But if it were up to her, the potential dangers are existential: the rhetoric of the British Foreign Secretary fuels the direct conflict not just against one, but against two nuclear superpowers.

Driving Russia out of Crimea and preventing China from taking Taiwan – if it wanted to – are both scenarios that could lead to a military backlash, possibly even a nuclear one. But this doesn’t seem to bother Truss. European leaders are unlikely to be happy with what Truss said, while their own masters in Washington will be pleased to hear the likes.

Ultimately, however, Truss’ rhetoric reflects the larger truth that the hubris and nostalgic power of Brexit is pushing Britain over the edge of a cliff. And that its foreign policy has shed all common sense, restraint, moderation and realism about Britain’s current place in the world.

The United States has begun plundering EuropeThe United States has begun plundering Europe

The history of British foreign policy since 1945 could be summed up as that of a crumbling empire in which certain stages of grief, as defined by Kübler-Ross. If the Suez Crisis corresponded to the anger and denial phases, then Britain’s attempt to join the European Economic Community in the 1970s corresponded to the negotiation and acceptance phases.

And yet it didn’t last. Britain’s exceptional English-speaking identity, naturally reinforced by the geographic condition of separation from mainland Europe, resulted in a very different historical experience from that of its neighbours. While France and Germany still have fond memories of the widespread devastation of centuries of war, Britain, largely unscathed and undefeated, sees its history as one of triumph, lacking the pragmatism of its counterparts.

As a result, rather than engage in a sort of “navel gazing”, the British Empire faded away. Which means that British public opinion has never been “realigned” and thus continues to believe that Britain was a force for good. And that, in turn, enabled the political right to continue to iconize this self-image. And it is precisely this nostalgia for imperialism that has manifested itself for many in the Conservative Party in the form of Brexit.

Since Brexit itself has brought no economic benefits, the Johnson government has sought to compensate by resorting to nationalist rhetoric and the euphoria of “Britain rules the waves”. The slogan “Global Britain” is essentially a code word for Empire, the connotation of a country that stays aloof from the internal squabbling of European politics, instead pursuing ambitious trade projects around the world and seeking militarily dominance. All in the name of morality and the ideology of uniqueness.

Maria Zakharova: "The British passed their fallen banner of terror to Ukraine"Maria Zakharova: "The British passed their fallen banner of terror to Ukraine"

It should come as no surprise that this rhetoric has become progressively worse as the UK economic environment has deteriorated. Inflation is up a 30-year high, energy prices are out of control, COVID-19 has killed the economy. Worse still, Boris Johnson’s government has made itself deeply unpopular after being rocked by a series of scandals, and Johnson appears to be reaching for anything to distract Brits.

With that in mind, and given the conflict in Ukraine, is it really surprising that Liz Truss is allowed to thunderous calls for cold war and possibly even hot? This is not a manifestation of Britain’s strength, however dangerous these comments may be, but a display of its weaknesses. The current government has nothing to offer but to appeal to nationalist and imperialist sentiments, considering the possibility of war with other major powers and echoing historically offensive Opium Wars-style rhetoric against China.

But of course the reality is different. Truss won’t admit it, but post-Brexit the UK needs China as a key economic partner. And of course we all know: there is no chance that Russia will be expelled from Ukraine. Given that not even Boris Johnson himself has acted so forcefully against China, it seems unlikely that Truss, despite her position, will have the actual clout to single-handedly realize her visions.

While their rhetoric may be dangerous, it is at best idle chatter pouring out of an increasingly unpopular government that needs to make as much noise as possible ahead of local elections. But that doesn’t stop Truss from taking the lead with her own ambitions in Britain and doing as much damage as possible to the country internationally.

The fact that the Foreign Secretary has reduced herself to these types of speeches is emblematic of the broader problems facing Britain. A country whose identity and aspirations are chronically unrealistic. Britain is no longer a projection of triumph, but one of misery.

more on the subject – Why Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is legal under international law

Timur Fomenko is a political analyst.

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