I was recently reading Where is Britain Going? By Leon Trotsky, written in 1925 when I was struck by this paragraph.
“A fairly well-known populariser of British history, Gibbins, writes in his outline of modern British history: ‘In general – though, of course, there are exceptions to this – the guiding principle of British foreign policy has been the support for political freedom and constitutional government.’ This sentence is truly remarkable; at the same time as being, deeply official, ‘national’ and traditional-sounding, it leaves no room for the hypocritical doctrine of non-interference in the affairs of other nations; at the same time it testifies to the fact that Britain has supported constitutional movements in other countries only in so far as they were advantageous to her commercial and other interests. But on the other hand, as the inimitable Gibbins says, ‘there are exceptions to this rule’. The entire history of Britain is depicted for the edification of her people (the doctrine of non-intervention notwithstanding) as a glorious struggle of the British government for freedom throughout the world. Every single new act of perfidy and violence – the Opium War with China, the enslavement of Egypt, the Boer War, the intervention in support of Tsarist generals – is interpreted as an exception to the rule.”
Can’t this depiction, with substitution in of Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam to name a few, also refer to today’s dominant superpower – the United States?
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