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Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Jean Perier -- How Jonson and May Got Lost in the London Fog
It so happened that mist and Britain are inseparable. Even its name – Albion suggests the importance of this natural phenomenon for the island nation.
The fact that London fog obscures the consciousness of many people, including politicians, has already been reported numerous times. Moreover, the fog itself is being perceived by different people in different ways. One can recall one of the paintings of the French painter Claude Monet of the House of Parliament at sunset, which, back in the day, produced massive confusion among Londoners. The painting depicts the Gothic outlines standing out of the mist, which is not colored in usual gray, but in deep purple. Monet’s alleged frivolity provoked outrage among British people, it took them a while to see for themselves that it was really purple in the deep fog.
London’s fog, and its climate in general, is not something that everyone can stomach. One can just mention the thick mist of December 5, 1952, which claimed the lives of 12,000 people.
And here, again, at the beginning of December 2016, British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson must have lost his way in the London fogs, since he accused one of the UK allies, namely Saudi Arabia, of waging “proxy wars” in the Middle East. The Guardian got its hands on the records of Johnson’s conversations with local politicians in Rome, during which Johnson broke a long-standing rule of British diplomacy to never criticize its closest allies.
Specifically, the head of the Foreign Office stated that Saudi Arabia and Iran are acting as “puppet masters”, while indirectly fueling conflicts in the Middle East. This, he explained, is the direct result of the absence of a strong leader in the region, who could go above the mutual hatred of Sunni and Shia communities. “There are politicians who are twisting and abusing religion and different strains of the same religion in order to further their own political objectives. That’s one of the biggest political problems in the whole region.”
The release of these comments looks rather queer, to say the least, since it compromises the positions of the British foreign minister.
Especially when you consider that this record was released mere days after the return of the British Prime Minister Theresa May from a working trip to the Persian Gulf, where she declared that London was planning to deepen defense cooperation with the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf . Additionally, the head of the British government proposed the GCC states to work towards the signing of “an ambitious trade agreement.”
Addressing the participants of the summit in Bahrain, Theresa May expressed Londong’s determination to seek a more persistent and more prolonged mutual commitment to maintain security in the Gulf region. According to the British Prime Minister, the United Kingdom is prepared to provide 3.7 billion dollars over the next ten years to finance various defense programs in the region. The head of the British government has gone as far as announcing that Gulf’s security is the security of the United Kingdom.
The only problem one can spot here is that the statements made Theresa May completely completely contradict the position voiced by Boris Johnson. In this connection, one question naturally arises: who of the British politicians got lost in the London fog and who is “doing politics” on this island monarchy: May or Johnson?
Or maybe it’s the ubiquitous Russia that wants to destroy Britain’s foreign policy and undermine the authority of Theresa May?
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”
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