Tuesday, May 31, 2005


The title of this blog is a reflection of the workings of international relations between nations. These relations are often said to be conducted in an environment of Realpolitik. In the days of British Empire it was called Gunboat diplomacy; a heavily armed gunboat at the mouth of the harbour would soon get the natives in line. In these more enlightened times we like to believe that international politics has progressed beyond such actions. The story of the former inhabitants of the Chagos Islands puts this belief into perspective.

Last week, the Guardian Weekly reported on the fact that a number of Chagos Islanders are to be allowed to visit their former home islands. These visits will be for a period of no more than 12 hours. No journalists will be allowed to accompany them.

The full story of how the British government has treated the former inhabitants of the Chagos Islands shows how far international relations have progressed since the days of Gunboat diplomacy. The Information Clearing House has put the documentary "Stealing a Nation" online.

The Blair government once talked of an "ethical foreign policy". Sadly, it was no more than talk.

No comments: