Enoch Powell Was Right on America

The rise of the modern American empire would have been no surprise to Enoch Powell. Indeed even in the 40s and 50s he saw the effects of America’s imperial, expansionist foreign policy and believed that Britain should have no part in such folly. However all major political parties in the House of Commons have ignored such warnings, and have led us down a path of increasing complicitness in America’s interventions and international relations. We have seen Britain become a major target for Islamist terrorists who see that we are equally responsible for the pillaging of their lands and the murder of their peoples. The destruction of their communities has allowed for their continued rise and popularity among the people of the Middle East, and instead of realising that we are very much to blame, we instead shrug our shoulders and look baffled when we are attacked and ridiculed. This is why I believe Enoch Powell was right.

Powell encountered American foreign policy firsthand in 1943, where, as Simon Heffer reports, “he had first seen what he considered to be America’s heavy hand in diplomacy when”[1]. As early as the 40s, Powell could see the effects of American expansionism, realising that their heavy-handedness would not lead to world peace, but rather to marginalisation and the creation of new enemies. Of course these machinations and predictions soon began to play out. The Korean war was the first such effort of intervention, where America, with British complicity, propped up the brutal South Korean dictator of Syngman Rhee in the name of protecting the free world. Then came the 1953 Iranian coup of democractically elected President Mosaddegh led by the CIA and MI6. This created massive tensions in Iran which eventually led to the 1979 Iranian revolution and the continued hatred of Western foreign policy found in the Iranian population. I could continue with multiple other examples where Britain regularly committed itself to American excursions despite being completely irrelevant to national interest or security, but these early examples show how even early on we allowed national interest and defense to be co-opted by America’s liberal interventionism.

However we have seen what’s wrong, but what can be done. There are many people, particularly conservatives, who see that by us leaving behind American interests and instead focusing on our own, we will become isolated and internationally irrelevant. However, the same arguments were ones Powell had to contend with also. Powell once said that “A Britain which is ready to exchange goods, services and capital as freely as it can with the rest of the world is neither isolated nor isolationist”, this being in relation to calls for integration with many different trade blocs and interests, such as the North Atlantic Free Trade Area. We don’t need either economic or security reliance upon American interests, but instead Britain needs to understand it’s interests are in free trade and further economic development and growth. The more we align with American foreign policy, the more we allow the state to grow and hamper trade and growth. We need to recognise what true conservatives like Powell saw, which was that allowing for the continued rise of an American empire will destroy our ability to focus on our own interests and mean we will be a slave to liberal interventionism that will require continued state spending that is unsustainable and will always be footed by taxpayers either now or in the future.

[1] Heffer, S. (2012). A Prophet Yet an Outcast. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2158958/Enoch-Powell-A-prophet-outcast.html. Last accessed 15th Dec 2014.

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