Labour leader condemns years of failed foreign interventions and promises he won’t sit up and beg for US President – unlike May
THE “war on terror” has failed, Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday in a tough-talking speech in which he made it clear he would, unlike Theresa May, stand up to US President Donald Trump on matters of principle.
In setting out his party’s approach to foreign and defence policy, the Labour leader said “fresh thinking” was needed to eradicate Westminster’s current “bomb first, talk later” approach.
And he slammed PM Theresa May for “pandering” to and “holding hands” with Mr Trump.
In an address to the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London, Mr Corbyn said he was not a pacifist but that military action — which has wrecked much of the Middle East — would be his very last resort.
“Today the world is more unstable than even at the height of the cold war. The approach to international security we have been using since the 1990s simply has not worked,” he added.
“Regime change wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria — and Western interventions in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — haven’t always succeeded in their own terms.
“Sometimes they have made the world a more dangerous place.”
Tory policies will, he said, make June 8 the fourth general election in a row held in wartime.
“Waiting to see which way the wind blows in Washington isn’t strong leadership. And pandering to an erratic administration will not deliver stability,” he warned Ms May.
“Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country’s security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House. So no more hand-holding with Donald Trump.
“A Labour government will conduct a robust and independent foreign policy, made in Britain.”
Mr Corbyn, a former chairman of the Stop the War coalition (StWC), also said: “I will not take lectures on foreign policy from a Conservative Party who stood by and would not even impose sanctions on the apartheid government in South Africa in the 1980s as they shot dead children in the streets.”
Mr Corbyn said that in office, Labour would work to halt the “drift to conflict” with Russia, maintain its opposition to human rights abuses by Moscow and maintain Britain’s commitment to Nato spending targets of 2 per cent of GDP on defence.
He also strongly criticised the Tories’ record on the armed forces and their poor living standards.
StWC co-convener Lindsey German told the Star : “Successive wars have been going on during the past four elections, but have never been seriously dealt with.
“Jeremy Corbyn showed himself as a person who has spent a lifetime supporting campaigns for national liberation, against war, in defence of refugees and against injustice.
“We have a straight choice: if you want more war, then Theresa May is your woman. Corbyn put forward a very different alternative.”
A spokesman for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament told the Star: “Jeremy Corbyn has a truly humane and decent approach to international relations.”
He added that the nuclear weapons issue still needed rethinking by Mr Corbyn in whether the party would remain pro-Trident and how his insistence of “no-first use” of nukes would work within Nato rules, which currently impose a first-use policy.
TIMES CORBYN STOOD FIRM
2001 - Parliament was denied a vote on the Afghanistan war, but Corbyn lobbied hard to stop it.
2003 - Votes against Blair’s folly in Iraq, which killed half a million people and cost over £20 billion by 2010.
2010 - Votes to withdraw troops from the meat-grinder of Afghanistan.
2011 - Votes against spending billions on bombing Libya, which hasn’t been at peace since.
2015 - Votes against Britain joining the US bombing campaign against Syrian targets in a vaguely defined campaign with no clear allies on the ground or end point in sight.