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Reader’s Comment of the Day: We were honest about our ambitions in the days of empire


In response to yesterday’s Reader’s Comment of the Day: Tyrants are better than the West’s fickle military interventions, David wrote:

The West in many ways behaves more badly now, after a period of false narcissistic liberal guilt concerning all manifestations of “empire”, than it was when it had an empire. 

Speaking now only of my own country, the UK, it is clear to me from the legacy we bequeathed our former colonies such as parliament, common law, democracy and the rule of law that although far from cuddly, we were, in fact, a mixture of good and bad. But now for many of these countries we are just bad. 

Previously we were honest. When we took control of territory we had the moral honesty to fly a flag proclaiming that the area was “ours” to control; and the control included the operation of a system of security and justice. 

But now we merely remove functioning governments, destroying them using remote military power, while taking no moral responsibility for such countries’ futures.This leaves the hapless inhabitants without a functioning government and without law or order. Into this hellish vacuum step the worst kind of opportunistic thugs, warlords and gangsters. It is really quite appalling. 

It seems to me that there are worse criminals running Western governments than have already been tried for war crimes at The Hague. Our behaviour nowadays is, without doubt, far worse than during the more honest days of Empire.

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