THE BLOG

Rethinking the UK's Foreign Policy Role

07/05/2013 13:13 BST | Updated 06/07/2013 10:12 BST

Despite the US-led invasion of Afghanistan starting back in October 2001, around 9,000 British soldiers still remain stationed in the country to this day, with a remit of training up local military forces to take over security by the end of 2014.

Yet 2014 is very much a political deadline rather than a military one. This dubious timeframe led to a questionable application process and it is reported that many of the Afghan recruits are former criminals and militant insurgents. Some of these very soldiers have since committed human rights abuses against their fellow compatriots.

There are also further concerns over security within Afghanistan post-2014, particularly given that after US and British troops left Iraq in 2011, insurgencies and bombings have been frequent and security problems remain.

Nor is regional security likely to be greatly enhanced due to the invasion and subsequent occupation. While a number of senior al-Qaeda officials, including Osama Bin Laden, have been killed, the organisation has been resourceful and devolved power to localised groups.

But more importantly, the reputation of the US, UK and their allies has been significantly diminished. Millions of people have grown up in Afghanistan with the knowledge that their country was occupied and ruled over by foreign military powers.

Meanwhile, the Afghan premier, Hamid Karzai, is regarded by many as a foreign-puppet in all but name. His office are reportedly even receiving millions of dollars of funding direct from the CIA and MI6, news which is hardly endearing to Afghans seeking sovereignty and self-determination.

This 11-year campaign in Afghanistan is just one reason why the UK needs to rethink its entire foreign policy raison d'être. Writing in 'One Nation, One World', the new pamphlet from revolutionise.it, released on 7 May, Sarah Cartin of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament sets out a new course for Britain in the world.

Sarah argues that government plans to renew the £97 billion Trident nuclear weapons system must be abandoned, to 'send a decisive, progressive message to the rest of the world'. Instead, Sarah urges the UK to invest in people and act to reverse the 'devastation caused by climate change'.

In her contribution to the pamphlet, Pamela Nash MP urges a focus on helping people who suffer from HIV and AIDS, specifically the ambitious aim of 'committing the UK Government to creating an AIDS free generation'.

Matt Prescott of the Robertsbridge Group talks up the merits of personalised carbon credits as a mechanism for reducing the world's energy consumption, while providing financial rewards to use who pollute less.

Meanwhile, Andrew Webb of Bleeding in Debt argues that developing world debt should be cancelled through an extension of quantitative easing, a process already used to bail out failing banks.

In total the pamphlet contains 14 policy proposals, including introducing a fairer alternative to Council Tax; giving British people a decisive say in the way the country is run; and cutting reoffending rates by introducing 'prisoner-led cooperatives'.

Please see www.revolutionise.it for more details.