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US policy is not exactly an effort towards world conquest, at least not after the model of the British Empire, when Britain had to provide government for the areas it controlled and therefore had a responsibility of care, however well or badly provided. A more accurate analogy might be Britain's traditional relationship to Europe, the policy of 'balance of power', the essence of which was to prevent any major power emerging which might challenge British hegemony (even when, as in the case of Germany in the late nineteenth century, the emerging power thought of itself as a great friend of Britain). Something of the sort is expressed in the evidence given to the Commission by the Henry Jackson Society, named for one of the leading ideologues of the Cold War (3):

'For Washington, post-WWII foreign policy has prioritised preventing any major economic region in the world falling under the sway of a hostile nation state. That is why the US continues to underpin NATO (as a hedge against Russian aggression), provide for the security of Japan and the Republic of Korea (to guard against Chinese domination of the Far East), and entered the Gulf War (to prevent Iraqi domination of the Middle East).'

(3)  Solzhenitsyn on meeting Jackson: 'Jackson gave the impression that he was experiencing the greatest joy of his life, but his eyes were empty, they even frightened me. What a terrible thing politics is!'

We may question whether since the fall of Communism it is correct to characterise Russia and China as necessarily hostile powers (or at least whether they would want to be hostile powers if the US did not manifest hostility to them) and there can be little doubt that Saddam Hussein on the eve of the war over Kuwait, thought of himself as a gallant friend of the US, having, over a period of ten years, at huge cost to his own people, broken the initial impetus of the Iranian revolution. But leaving such considerations aside the presupposition here is that it is the military power of the US, not the system of international law supposedly embodied in the United Nations, that is the guarantor of world peace.

And this view is not totally unreasonable. The UN embodies two deeply contradictory ideas. In its formal documents it is a society of equals coming together to make collective decisions, a parliament of nations. But there is an Executive and in that Executive, the Security Council, five nations - US, UK, France, Russia and China - can veto any decision made by the UN (if the Security Council decides to take any matter in hand it can't be discussed by the General Assembly). This means that those five nations are above the law, which means effectively that there is no law. Not only can they veto any action against themselves, they can veto any action against anyone they choose to protect. The 2017 Labour Party manifesto complains about 'repeated abuses of the veto power by some permanent members of the UN Security Council.' Maybe they have in mind the US repeatedly vetoing slaps on the wrist for Israel; or maybe they are thinking of Russia's vetoing military action against Syria. It was the Soviet Union/Russia's failure to use its veto that gave a legal camouflage to the Korean War, the war over Kuwait (4) and the destruction of Libya. 'Repeated abuses of the veto power etc' is a weasel phrase disguising the fact that 'international law' is a misnomer. What the UN Security system has established - and was designed to establish when the Soviet Union was a force to be reckoned with - is a system of spheres of influence. Which is to say it presupposes what, according to the Henry Jackson Society, the US is now trying to prevent, and what Russia is consciously and explicitly trying to establish - a multipolar world.

(4)  I am reluctant to use the common phrase the 'Gulf War' which I think encourages us to forget the ten year Gulf War between Iran and Iraq that preceded it. Also the imbalance of forces was so enormous that the word 'war' hardly seems appropriate.

Which is a possible and likely consequence of the policy I would advocate. I think we should stop acting as Robin to the US Batman, as Tonto to the Lone Ranger. We should not support the US effort to dominate the world but we should recognise that the alternative to US world domination does mean accepting the emergence of spheres of influence, of a multipolar world. And it means accepting that bad things happen in the world and there is very little we can do to stop it.