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For the first time in living memory, someone has bossed around the British on the high seas.
All to the worse, it’s the Mullahs in Iran.
And the scene of the crime is the Persian Gulf… once the very nerve center of the British Empire.
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This is the UK that once divided Iran into zones of occupation with the Soviets during the Second World War… that mastered shipping running up and down the length of the Gulf, from Singapore and India to Kuwait and Iraq, the gateways to Europe and beyond…
The UK that once controlled and patrolled the seven seas, with an unsurpassed naval and merchant fleet…
The UK that mobilized to fight—and win— awar at the other end of the world, when tinpot Argentines tried to seize the Falkland Islands.
Now London stands pat as Iran seizes a tanker and raises its flag on the ship… and video spreads around the world.
It’s a humiliating contrast to the scene in Hong Kong, where mass protests against China’s punitive and invasive regime have taken to hoisting the British colonial-era flag as a symbol of freedom, resistance, and determination.
All of which are in conspicuously short supply in England.
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The Prince of Wales is busy urging world leaders that only a matter of months remain to turn the tide, somehow, against adverse climate change. Too busy to preserve British dignity and sovereignty in the Gulf?
Leaving it to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to put forth a preposterous and shameful proposal for a joint European maritime security patrol—a move Iran and Brexit Brits alike are already mocking as feeble and pointless.
There’s always the US, of course, to be counted on in a pinch… but Trump is widely devoted to keeping America out of ensnaring military commitments with a high risk of war. His strategy of pressuring Iran into making sloppy mistakes and hollow provocations is working… just not to the advantage of a flimsy and lazy UK.
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All of which raises the daunting question… is Britain a world power, or isn’t it?
It’s a lot to hinge around the fate of one vessel. But with a response this halting and uncertain—playing into all the worst stereotypes about London leadership today—the scandal speaks volumes.
This is why Jeremy Corbin is derided, Theresa May is gone, Boris Johnson is being dusted off, and Nigel Farage is resurgent. The British people are looking for some spine.
So far, all they can see from their own elite are quivering upper lips.
It’s been a long time since Britannia ruled the waves… all of them, anyway. But if Albion can’t rule even a handful, the West is in for some mighty choppy seas.