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Sunday, 18 October 2015

What makes a "best friend"?

Britain has made 'visionary' choice to become China's best friend, says Xi

We, the United Kingdom that is, seem to have a most bizarre collection of "friends".

China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel, India, UAE and Thailand rate amongst the more repressive regimes around the world and have an appalling record of human rights abuses. Yet, these countries, along with a few African republics, seem to be favoured to a greater or lesser extent, as "valued customers" by sections of the United Kingdom business world, particularly in the defence sector where we have large markets for riot and civil disorder equipment, and certainly by British governments who welcome these unsavoury administrations as "great friends and allies".

Certainly over recent years, where the "war on terror" has provided justification for selling practically anything to any country willing to provide military intelligence and join the "coalition", governments have used the rationalisation that the "National interest" over rides any consideration of human rights abuses. The intangible national interest of the United Kingdom condones the very real beatings, false imprisonment, tear gassing, imprisonment without trial or process, forced exile, beheadings and even worse atrocities carried out by our "friends" on their own peoples.

It is a vindication frequently used by business interests and governments in their quests for larger "markets" and profits. An argument with which I totally disagree. As for the proposition some often trot out that "If we don't sell them this equipment, some other country will", it is a comment based on a flawed logic that proposes we have to be as bad as the next guy. It seems to me that the people of the UK are better than that.