by Rob Marchant
Another week, another revelation about what a Corbyn-led foreign policy would look like. It is enough that Labour would, as it did in the days of George Lansbury, be directed into a position of “peace at any price”, even if that were saving lives from genocide in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, as a previous Labour government did.
This is not an exaggeration: it is hardly a surprise that the chair of Stop the War Coalition, by definition, supports the idea that any military action by the West under any circumstances is a bad thing (although, strangely, that organisation has shown itself not so against war when it is conducted by a non-Western power, such as Russia).
And so we have been treated in recent days to a reminder that Corbyn regards the death of Osama Bin Laden as “a tragedy”. While, in times of peace, it is right to uphold the right of anyone to a fair trial, Bin Laden was killed in war zone. And it is difficult to imagine many British citizens agreeing with that particular stance, let alone those of New York, where he contrived the death of three thousand.
Leaving on one side the fact that this statement was made on PressTV, the propaganda channel of a deeply unpleasant regime, it is extraordinary that we even have to make these arguments.
And then there was the concern articulated by Halya Coynash, one of Ukraine’s most respected human rights activists, that Corbyn had essentially adopted the Russian position on her country:
“His assessment of Russia’s annexation of Crimea coincides nicely with that presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin and on Russian television and he has simply ignored grave human rights concerns under Russian occupation.”
However, for some it is convenient to think that, should Labour elect Jeremy Corbyn as its leader in a few days’ time, his wacky foreign policy ideas would not do Britain any harm. After all, in opposition, what can a party leader do? And in the hearts of many of his most fervent supporters is the realisation that their man can never be Prime Minister.
This is a dangerously fallacious reading of the role of the leader of the opposition.