UK lawmakers differentiate themselves from US ‘rogue superpower’

Afshin Rattansi
Afshin Rattansi is a journalist, author of “The Dream of the Decade – the London Novels” and an RT Contributor. Afshin Rattansi began his journalism career on The (London) Guardian in the late 1980s as one of the newspaper’s youngest ever columnists. He went on to work for Britain’s Channel 4, BBC, Al Jazeera Arabic, CNN International and Bloomberg Television and many other media. In the run-up to the Lehman Brothers crash of 2008, he published a collection of four of his novels as “The Dream of the Decade – The London Novels.” As US pressure increased on Iran, Afshin moved to Tehran to anchor the news on the new satellite TV channel, Press TV which was later banned in Britain. He set up Alternate Reality Productions in London in 2010 making Double Standards, a comedy satire show as well as other TV news commissions. His writing has also appeared in the New Statesman; Counterpunch; The Oldie; Plays and Players; Mitchell Beazley’s Encyclopaedia of 21st Century; The Journal of the British Astronomical Association; Association of Lloyd's Members Journal; Critical Quarterly; Makers of Modern Culture (Routledge, 2007); “Brought To Book” (Penguin, 1994); Flaunt; Attitude. He is a founder member of the Frontline Club in London and he won the Sony Award for outstanding contribution to international media in 2002.
UK lawmakers differentiate themselves from US ‘rogue superpower’
The US rhetoric of striking Syria without the support of Britain should stir up countries to create an anti-hegemonic alliance, RT's contributor Afshin Rattansi believes, now that the UK has voted against joining anti-Damascus military coalition.

RT:So any possibility of British involvement in a military campaign in Syria has been ruled out after British MPs voted down the prospect in parliament - a huge setback for Prime Minister Cameron? 

Afshin Rattansi: Very much so and it caught some of the mainstream media by surprise. They say that the US is a declining superpower but it has just lost one of its closest military allies. The Prime Minister himself says that he has heard the voice of the people and they don’t want it. We’ve got to remember that the US is sending its fifth war ship into the Mediterranean. Ahead of this vote in the British parliament ten thousand people went to al Marsa checkpoint with Lebanon, fleeing what they thought were Tomahawk missile strikes in the offing presumably using British cover and military help.

So what is happening in Westminster and in the Parliament, should not blind us to the fact, that all the joking around - and it was joking around - this is a joint intelligence memo by a man called John Doe. Just a couple of weeks ago he was sending in heavies apparently to smash up the British Guardian newspaper computers. But here he is saying chemical weapons sources are based on YouTube videos, the British Parliament would not take it and David Cameron is seemingly realizing that 90 percent maybe of the British public don’t support the US military action.

RT:How would you assess David Cameron's performance in Parliament today? 

AR: This document that he went off is obviously completely absurd; he could not persuade his own party members. They kept on mentioning Tony Blair and his dodgy dossier where he of course took things out from the PhD thesis and we all know about the Iraq situation. President Obama must have told him – why do you need parliamentary consensus? Within minutes of that vote he was saying to officials, regardless of British reaction military strikes could happen. Yes, a certain spotlight on David Cameron. If he can’t get his own MPs to vote on something as important as war, war or peace, well, they chose peace. And how ironic - it's 99 years almost to the day, August 1914 since WWI broke out. Most of the debate, a lot of the debate was about the start of WWI. The great powers of this equation on Syria and it looks like the British Parliament listened to the people and seemingly listened to history.
A picture taken on August 22, 2013 shows a devastated street in the Salaheddine district of the northern city of Aleppo, Syria. (AFP Photo / Louai Abo Al-Jod)

RT:How will this affect the much talked about special relationship between the US and the UK? 

AR: How quick for Barack Obama? It was only few minutes since debate started that the White House began briefing. The US Congress already saying the extra information isn’t much. David Cameron, we could say tried his best but his motion, the motion in the Parliament here was basically saying it was minimal; it did not need that amount of proof.  But it looked like the British Parliament wanted to make a stand on the UN report, even the inspector report saying president Assad caused the killing of all those people in Guta near Damascus using chemical weapons- even that would not have convinced the British Parliament. British Parliament is seemingly differentiating itself from US state policy and favors the UN Security Council. It is a sign of a declining super power that the US can no longer get Britain’s support. And of course Britain has bases in Cyprus and there are masses of American bases in Britain, some people call Britain an American aircraft carrier. Perhaps this is a sign of beginning of the end of that. 

RT:It looks like Cameron now has to keep the UK's missiles on hold for the time being. So will the US do it alone?

AR: The Wall Street Journal is citing that Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Latakia airport are all targets. Then of course we’re hearing that people are being moved there. Well what will the retaliation be? Will it be against the British bases in Cyprus? What does Britain do then? If you have one rogues superpower, it is going to act alone without US Congressional approval, without UN Security Council approval, without the approval of its NATO partners. Perhaps it's for the historians to say what people should be doing now, which is allying themselves against a rogue superpower that is quite willing to evade any kind of norms of international law. It was mentioned in the British debate. If president Putin or Xi Jinping decided to bomb a country because they suspected them of killing 100 people using chemical weapons, without Security Council approval, what would NATO due?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.