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The British Tradition of Piracy leaves fatal trail on the high seas

The British Tradition of Piracy leaves fatal trail on the high seas

The British Tradition of Piracy leaves fatal trail on the high seas
July 07
15:52 2019

As the UK tries hard to justify its seizure of an Iranian super-tanker off the Spanish coast, international attention is focusing on the political, diplomatic and humanitarian cost of similar British actions in the past.

The British Empire was sustained by ability of London to control the high seas, or to rule the waves so to speak, and decades after the formal loss of the empire, this myth continues to shape the UK’s worldview.

Black Bart, Privateer
The most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, 
Black Bart was estimated to have captured more than 470 vessels

The Royal Navy was, and continues to be, at the centre of this British over-reach on the world stage.

From patrolling the Black Sea (close to the Russian Peninsul a of Crimea), to maintaining a menacing presence in the Persian Gulf, and enforcing the occupation of Islas Malvinas (the Falkland Islands) in the remotest parts of the South Atlantic Ocean close to the Argentine coast, the Royal Navy is a destabilising force on the world stage.    

Britain’s psychological inability to fully break with the supposed glory days of Empire is exemplified by the Royal Navy’s over-reach in the strategic waterways of the world.

The military operation to seize a civilian tanker – whose crew were unarmed – off the Spanish coast was only possible because of the UK’s occupation of Gibraltar against Spain’s legitimate claim to sovereignty over the territory.

Similarly Britain conducts military operations in other colonial outpost, notably Islas Malvinas, where, in 1982, Britain dispatched a Royal Navy-led expeditionary force to re-occupy the Islands after a brief Argentine liberation.

More recently the sinking of an Argentine submarine, the ARA San Juan, in November 2017, with the loss of 44 lives, was blamed by some on the aggressive actions of a Royal Navy helicopter which was allegedly chasing the submarine.

Military analysts fear a major political upset and humanitarian disaster as a result of British maritime over-reach. And with the UK adopting an increasingly radical foreign policy in the wake of Brexit, these fears may be realised sooner than anticipated.   

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