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27 Jul, 2019 08:43

Avoiding past mistakes or more imperialism? RT debates controversial UK MoD ties with university

Avoiding past mistakes or more imperialism? RT debates controversial UK MoD ties with university

A British university took flak for allegedly providing paid “cultural advice” to the British Army on how to act in the country’s former colonies across the globe. RT heard opposing takes on whether the outrage is justified.

A recent report revealed that, since 2016, the Defense Ministry had paid the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at least £400,000 ($500,000) for “cultural advice” on how to operate in foreign countries, including many former British colonies.

This sparked uproar among anti-war activists and the SOAS Students’ Union, which slammed the school for “supporting the militarization of academia.”

Also on rt.com Militarizing academia? UK university receives £400k from UK military for ‘cultural advice’ – report

Anti-war campaigner Jonathon Shafi shares this sentiment, saying that such engagements do nothing but reinforce “British imperialism… which is not a good thing for the world.”

There’s a historical legacy around colonialism and how such knowledge was used for propaganda… And not just in the centuries gone by, but even in [recent] decades. Look at the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Disagreeing with him, former senior military intelligence officer Philip Ingram believes that the British Army’s desire to learn more about foreign nations actually shows how London wants to avoid repeating colonial-era mistakes, when it “went with unopposed Britishness onto different countries.”

What’s wrong with trying to get to understand the cultures?.. What is the better way of preparing for the future [and] to get it right than talking to the academics doing the right research?

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