Trade helps countries, we can't impose democracy
JON Turner seems a little naïve in his thinking, "We must ask questions of countries we trade with" (Opinions, January 17).
Without doubt he is a very amiable gentleman but needs to include more realism into his thinking. Good intentions are not enough.
Christianity is an example of an ideal way of life but, unfortunately, has caused more wars and suffering than any other system by trying to impose itself on cultures that just weren't sufficiently developed to understand the benefits. There is an old adage along the lines of "the road to destruction is paved with good intent" and our politicians need to be aware of potential consequences of their actions.
I agree with Jon that benign trading is not enough on its own but it is an excellent way to initiate relationships and provide a platform on which to build. Furthermore, it is not possible to trade, invest and develop businesses in foreign lands without the spin-off of creating some wealth and prosperity for the indigenous population. How that wealth is distributed is for them to decide, not us.
With regard to democracy, I would like to remind Jon that what I actually said was "our interpretation of democracy". We have the myth of being called a democratic country when, in truth, we are an elected dictatorship. I will justify that by saying that I haven't voted in any general election for more than 40 years because I can't find any political party that will give me my country back. Around 70% of our laws are made outside of this country and imposed upon us without our consent.
Jon, could I remind you that the British Empire was built on trade and through this we even "controlled" Argentina, which did not appear on the world map in pink because the British Government could not justify the expense of maintaining a military force there.
Many countries around the world have grown and developed thanks to the British penchant for trade. Few have benefited from our political involvement.
Trade enables development to proceed gradually in line with culture and aspiration. Political interference is enforcement.
The latest example of which is in Mali, a French cock-up and nothing to do with us. The UK Government claims "security", "preventing the conflict from spreading" etc, as justification for our involvement while, at the same time, ruling out "boots on the ground". Well, since the RAF Regiment is protecting our planes, don't we already have boots on the ground? Question: What will happen if any are shot? How long before we see reprisals in this country?
Mr Turner could better spend his time promoting a campaign to bring Tony Blair before the International Court of Human Rights to explain his illegal wars in the Middle East.
Finally, could I suggest to Mr Turner that he involves some profound knowledge into his judgements. This, of course, is only possible with experience, contact, exposure and understanding.