Moral policy

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Doesn’t the fact there are “no winners in Putin’s game of Russian roulette” (Perspective, 8 August) show how foreign and domestic relations are inextricably interlinked?

One example is the call by the Scottish Government for an “immediate arms embargo” on Israel. Wouldn’t such a foreign policy initiative have a deleterious effect on the jobs of workers in the defence industry?

Another instance is the use of economic sanctions by the West and Russia to pursue foreign policy objectives.

Again, this shows how between major powers in the global political economy, power isn’t “asymmetrical”.

If Russia were to cut off oil and gas supplies to Europe the repercussion on its own economy could be catastrophic.

Seemingly, power relations are so complex they are founded neither “from the barrel of a gun” nor “from a barrel of oil”.

However, the time when the late Robin Cook called for a moral foreign policy seems to be light years away.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk


When the EU and the US started to sabre rattle and threaten Russia with sanctions China urged caution and patience, saying that “the door for talks must remain open”.

Shi Mingde, a former director general of foreign affairs, warned sanctions against a major state like Russia would lead to retaliatory action which could spiral out of control. Pointing to its “fragile and uneven” recovery, he said the EU was not in a position to impose sanctions which might rebound, driving energy prices higher and depressing exports.

As the Chinese predicted, 
Russia has produced a retaliatory list of Western raw 
materials and agricultural
products to be banned and the EU stands to lose £10 billion in food exports.

Closer to home, the result of this pointless geopolitical posturing is that Scottish agriculture will take a heavy hit with the North-east. alone losing 
£18 million in frozen fish exports.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews