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  • Hugh Smiley

Britain should become more pacifist

For all of us who had the... joy of studying the World Politics module in our first year, will have witnessed a slightly unexpected cohesion amongst a good number of conflicting political theorems. Something which leads the forever at war concepts of realism, post-colonialism and Marxism to form a strange suicide squad style alliance, where no one gets along, but all work together to fight a common enemy, this being international intervention.

This consensus of being overtly against intervention in political theory, whilst being brought about through extremely different thought processes, is an important one to take note of. Walk into a room and state the hot take that war is bad, will hardly go down with rapturous applause and political revolution. However, that being said, war despite supposedly being universally unpopular, is certainly something we as a nation somehow stumble into, whether it be in formal declarations in Iraq, or just a casually tossed-aside drone strike in Syria, barely making it to the front page of the news. Britain often cheered on by the school yard bully that is the United States, has a habit of engaging in political conflicts, which are by no means democratically supported and are often unknown to the majority of the public. The UK alone enacted over 7,500 drone/aircraft missions in Iraq and Syria since 2014 alone, let alone the extreme number the US has done with our support.

Despite this, Britain's foreign policy is given very little attention by both the public and the media, for some reason in UK discourse our foreign involvements are often very much overlooked, dismissing those who attempt to shed light on these issues as silly pacifists rather than considering the costs of our actions in unnecessary and offensive forever wars. Even if one was to ignore the astronomical loss of life (which, it's important to say, would be quite an exclusion) there are also the unbelievable costs involved, perhaps rather than wasting millions investing in ways to kill foreigners, the UK should focus funds on investing to help our own citizens, whether it be with the NHS or welfare funding.

However, it is not enough to simply declare that we must end these offensive, costly and destructive wars, action must be taken. And due to the lack of real attention/focus from the media and therefore the public, except of course directly after an international tragedy, where outrage is cried and tears shed, but 24 hours later we all move on with nothing having changed, and the freight train that is the military industrial complex of the West chugging along. We must implement a binding constitutional resolution, barring the UK from engaging in any offensive conflicts, to ensure that we as a nation never get dragged into a war under false pretences, to ensure that no more innocent lives are lost, and subsequently ignored since they aren't from our nation.

Following in Japan’s footsteps who introduced a constitutional clause of this sort (article 9) in 1947 making it so that the nation of Japan can only develop and maintain a purely defensive army, thereby keeping Japan successfully war-free since then. Before people cry the most brutal of insults that a peace-monger like myself can receive, that being to call me a pacifist wimp who will lead to the ruination of the UK through its inability to have an offensive army. It is important for those who feel such an urge to recognise that, this doesn’t mean turning the UK into a pacifist state, it simply means we will no longer attempt to play world police, or rather assistant to the world police by the side of the US, allowing other nations to maintain their sovereignty and for us to move away from imperial intervention, towards peace and diplomatic means of improving the world.

Critics would suggest that without the ability to immediately squash another nation with our might, would lead to other countries having too much confidence to strike us, and become overly aggressive to the UK, feeling that no retribution would come. However, this argument is simply untrue. A defensive army can be more than enough of a deterrent against violent action, and would also ensure that we don’t cry war every time a drone we fly into Iranian airspace illegally, is destroyed.

I hope to have widened your perspective to the possibility of a purely defensive military nation. By enforcing said idea into government would make us a far more stable nation, as well as being a far more legitimate player on the international stage, not having to threaten developing nation with a nuke, every time they don’t wish to comply to our whims. Not only would this actually make our nation safer, it would also make the whole world safer, ensuring that the UK no longer tries to play colonial power and instead attempts to be an example of what peace can achieve. A not so wise man once said if you want peace prepare for war, well if we truly want peace, why not end our wars.

Image: Unsplash

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