Friday, January 23, 2015

The Homage That Vice Pays To Virtue

And before anyone asks, yes, this is the kind of thing that I've been banging on and on about for years.

As it happens, I'm really not horrified at all to see the world's leading humanitarians going all kneepad-nymphos with its most appalling tyrants once again.  This kind of thing has been going on since forever and, if it's rare for us to directly witness such pornographic entwinings of political tongue and autocratic anus, it certainly doesn't hurt to be reminded of some very basic facts of life.  

I can even see a kind of cold-blooded logic in the idea that it may be better to suck up to the Sauds than it would be to let the Kingdom fall in whichever direction it totters... Although of course, it's incredibly naive to imagine that it's this excuse, rather than the far more obvious and commonplace "keeping the same rich folks very rich indeed" motivation that's at the heart of the policy.

Still, let's observe that by far the easiest way for our nation to avoid charges of hypocrisy while still keeping the right cash registers ringing isn't to suddenly denounce and divorce the Saudi despotism, and screw the consequences.

That might be the right thing to do, but it's not the most convenient.

The easiest and most honest tactic would be for statesmen to drop all pretence that their foreign policies are motivated by morality, human rights or love of democracy, and to admit once and for all that they're moved by ignoble expediency at best, and rampant, cynical greed at worst.

This would slash my stock of blogging topics by about eighty percent at a stroke, and I can't say that I'd be sad to see them go.  It'd also do us all the immense favour of debullshitising much of our politics, which would be wonderful for pretty much everyone, barring those who benefit from bullshit.

Anyway, as a little pick-me-up, let's end by fondly recalling how the Saudi King was greeted by the Welsh Guards, the last time he visited these shores. 


organic cheeseboard said...

Just a note but I'm pretty sure that the 'things would be much worse if they were deposed' line, though it might (possibly) be true, tends to get fairly short shrift from a particular section of Blairites when applied to, say, Saddam's Iraq, Gadaffi's Libya (the late version), or Assad's Syria... It tends to do better when applied to e.g. Egypt right now as well.

flyingrodent said...

I can confirm from long experience that the argument

"We shouldn't blast the shit out of this country because no matter how bad it is, it can always get much, much worse"

...Cuts no ice at all with most UK-based fans of military hijanks.

I'd also add that it's very noticeable that the whole world was bombarded with news about the supposedly intolerable death of a female protestor in Iran a few years back, and yet certain Egyptian military strongmen appears to be able to mow photogenic women down with machine guns almost as a matter of course, without so much as a peep.

I wonder if this strange anomaly has anything to do with that ethical foreign policy that we used to hear a lot about.