Robin Cook

Robin Cook, who died on Saturday, was one of the most principled and eloquent politicians of our time. Here, in a column he wrote for ‘The Independent’ in March last year, he holds the Government to account for its war on Saddam. His strikingly prescient words are more relevant than ever.

We would have made more progress against terrorism if we had brought peace to Palestine rather than war to Iraq.

True enough. Yet this implies the West should and must intervene everywhere, and that’s still being part of the problem, and not the solution. Imperialism done for a stated purpose of peace is still imperialism, still imposing your will on others, still nearly guaranteed to produce blowback and resentment.

Had the West not propped up Israel financially and militarily for decades because they wanted a friendly state in the region, while doing nothing as Palestinians suffered, perhaps they might be able to help bring peace. But it’s far too late for any of that.  And arrogance to believe otherwise.