Brits Fear Collapse of Containment of Russia and China in Aftermath of Biden’s Afghanistan Decision
Aug. 25, 2021 (EIRNS)—British partisans of the “rules-based international order” are in fear that President Joe Biden’s decision on Afghanistan means the collapse of the containment of Russia and China. “What made support from the West so attractive to countries around the world was the underpinned commitment to helping countries build liberal, open democracies and a society grounded in the rule of law,” David Lidington, chair of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and a former Deputy Prime Minister of the U.K., told CNN. “One of the consequences of the defeat in Afghanistan is the lack of confidence in the West, which can only be a good thing for China and Russia, who can offer their support with zero regard for rule of law or human rights.”
The fury at the U.S. in the British House of Commons is unbridled. “U.K.-U.S. relations are about to enter their lowest point since Suez,” one senior MP said, reported the Guardian. “The special relationship is very, very damaged.” Another said: “We have always pretended there’s a special relationship with the U.S. and Washington has always let us.” A minister added: “Biden’s America seems to have chosen to back off just when it was obvious only they could step up.”
Professor Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute think tank, revealed that it’s the prospect of going to (perennial) war without “partnering” with the U.S. that has London so upset. He told Newsweek in an interview that as part of the so-called “special relationship” with the U.S., British leaders had been expected to be consulted about the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. But he said that the U.S. not keeping its closest ally abreast of the situation had direct consequences for British and other allied forces on the ground there.
“There had been a palpable sense of relief at President Biden’s victory, and all his warm words about allies and international cooperation. The withdrawal has punctured common illusions on the extent of Britain’s military dependence on the United States,” Chalmers said. “The dependence is nothing new. Even the U.K.’s nuclear force has relied on American support since the 1960s. But British leaders had convinced themselves that they had real influence in successive wars in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the reality of dependence without influence has been exposed.”
Chalmers said the crisis has left Britain with very few other partnership options if it wanted to go to war without the U.S.—a clear admission of the dependency of British geopolitics on American military muscle.