There was a wonderful letter in the FT yesterday from a Mr Shenkman. He has clearly got a better grasp of history than those who have claimed that David Cameron’s veto of changes to the Lisbon Treaty and the UK’s alleged isolation as a result is in some way a reversal of British foreign policy towards the Continent.
I have a strong interest in history as I have a first class honours degree in the subject and in my view Mr Shenkman is right. For hundreds of years Britain’s successful policy with regard to the Continent has been to ally with the weaker powers to prevent a single power dominating the Continent. This which would have been to our detriment as an island off the coast of mainland Europe whose prosperity has depended upon trade with the wider world.
This policy was implemented during the Napoleonic Wars when the successful military intervention of Nelson and Wellington prevented the Continental System from being imposed upon Europe, and again in the twentieth century with two world wars fought against Germany.
There may no longer be a military dimension to the current problems in Europe (although I think we should hesitate before dismissing that possibility given the historic instability of south east Europe). There is, however, little doubt that the Eurozone has been used as an instrument for Germany to dominate the Continent through productive might and David Cameron’s veto is consistent with the aims of centuries of successful British policy on Europe which it would be foolish to abandon.
Financial Times, Letters to the Editor
Long tradition of holding other powers in check
From Mr Gregory Shenkman.
Sir, Perhaps the history I studied at Cambridge was different to that absorbed some years later by Jonathan Powell at Oxford (“Cameron has betrayed 200 years of history”, December 12). Mr Powell suggests....
Read the full text at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9f1ca328-1c4c-11e1-af09-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1gJnGZzdi
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