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EU Foreign Policy Failure

August 3rd, 2014

Letter to Sunday Telegraph

Janet Daley’s reflections (27 July) on “Europe’s ignominious failure to rise to the most serious threat to world stability in a generation” (i.e. Russia’s actions against the Ukraine), bring to mind its uncanny resemblance to the attempts by the League of Nations in 1935 to impose sanctions on Italy for its conquest of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).
Then as now, Britain was the only major power to impose sanctions which actually cost its economy something.  Then as now, the other major powers continued to trade with Italy – the USA shipping oil, France refusing outright to impose sanctions, Germany as now continuing to sell its machinery and cars.
As with Putin today, Mussolini took no notice of sanctions.  After 9 months Britain recommended to the League of Nations the lifting of sanctions on an Italy which now saw Britain as its main opponent in the world- in the Mediterranean – a key British interest.  With two key British interests today – BP and City finance – under threat from the Russian response to sanctions, is history about to repeat itself?
Yours truly