The UK Foreign Office is not wholly without use because it managed to persuade the Chinese to let David Cameron into China after their refusal to receive him for more than a year having insulted them publicly 5 times over human rights and met with the Dalai Lama.
As a result of this, the UK will get Chinese trade and investment assistance worth several billions for major infrastructure projects.
The illegality of the Iraq War and what is happening in Syria is as a result of warmongering Prime Ministers, first Tony Blair, who many argue, is in effect a war criminal and more recently David Cameron who is mendacious and incompetent.
The FCO may well be stuffed with gin soaked civil servants but they should not be blamed for offering advice (they are normally quite timid), which is then ignored or not acted upon by Ministers.
With the Falklands, the FCO favored a sale and leaseback deal with Argentina but Mrs Thatcher wanted a war followed by a “Khaki election”.
Afghanistan was planned and war-gamed long before 2000 and before 9/11 because of the prospects for securing the Turkmenistan oil pipeline, $6 trillion USD in copper and lithium, the propping up of the US dollar by China and access to other raw materials.
The secret arrangements to invade that country were probably made by Messrs Bush and Blair at George W Bush‘s ranch in Crawford Texas and the FCO, if it was told, was told afterwards because at that stage “the die was cast”.
The Chilcott Enquiry is clearly being frustrated by the present Government because the Advice of the then Attorney General was that the Iraq war was illegal, which would make Tony Blair in effect a war criminal, along with those of his ministers who made the decision, plus Opposition Shadow Ministers who went along with what he said if they knew more than the lies he told Parliament and the country.
Of course, people like David Cameron, can argue that he knew nothing and since Chilcott is being subverted the detail of the truth surrounding these events will always remain obscure.
Dr Alf is right to be a little disturbed at the FCO and Pravda RU’s mischief-making but I would argue that the whole UK civil service apparatus and the concept of an “impartial civil service” remaining in perpetuity is out of date and has not been fit for purpose for years.
What is required is a reduction in headcount to 15,000 (the figure that prevailed at the height of British Imperial power in 1885) and a policy of complete clear-out with each new Parliament to stop civil servants going native.
Appointments should be made on fixed-term contracts and advice should come from think tanks, independent research and subject matter experts rather than civil servants who for the most part are lazy, are incapable of working to deadlines, know little about business,the true nature of geopolitics, strategy, negotiation, the lessons of history,risk optimization, resilience, agility, outsourcing, trend analysis and future-proofing.
Their inadequacies are multiplied by the lack-luster quality of Ministers, who are frequently doing jobs they are not qualified to do (e.g.:George Osborne and Danny Alexander)
This harsh judgement is evidenced by our lack of energy security, the state of our non-existent food security our aid policies and the fact that in negotiation after negotiation we come up with the short straw far too often.
BlairIraqWarDemo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)