So I heard the news today:
William Hague has said the UK will recognise the Libyan rebel council as the “sole governmental authority”, as Gaddafi-regime diplomats are expelled. (full story here)
… and my first thought was the scene from Good Morning Vietnam, when Adrian Cronauer gives the news his own brand of spin:
“We’re back. Here’s the news. All the news that’s new and approved by the U.S. Army, the sweetest-smelling army in the world. (imitates Teletype) Great Britain recognized the island state of Singapore. How do you recognize on island? You go, “exc… Hey, wait. No, don’t tell me. Wait, wait, didn’t we meet last year at the Feinman bar mitzvah? You look a lot like Hawaii. Didn’t we meet last year at the Peninsula Club? No.”
But then my mind started moving in a different direction. What criteria does a government apply when recognising another governmental authority?
Does democratic election come into the equation? It doesnt apply in Libya – but it would/should have in Zimbabwe and Burma.
Does the use of force to conquer territory count? If so, what chance of peace in areas of political turmoil?
Or is the prerequisite that we – and our allies – have thrown our military power into the equation and we dont want to look stupid?
Im not a fan of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, but this country recognised it in the recent past when it suited us. And going back to my examples of Zimbabwe and Burma – if we cant have an ethical foreign policy, can we at least have a consistent one please?