Barbados Foreign Policy Should be Based on ‘Ínterest’

Submitted by Caleb M. Pilgrim

Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow labelled Barbados foreign policy “friends of all and satellites of none”

Time was when a foundational principle of Barbados’ foreign policy was that we were “friends of all and satellites of none”. The idea carried, then as now, a certain charming naïveté about it. For me, however, even as a Temporary Foreign Service Officer in the Barbados Foreign Ministry eons ago, the idea seemed slightly preposterous.

Curious that Sir James Cameron Tudor, (Keble College, 43), Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, P.R UN, and H.C UK should have embraced such intellectual nonsense. He was, after all, a contemporary student of World War II. In such context, could any one seriously imagine Churchill, filled with constant rage and his natural bile at Nazi aggression and even subsequent anti-colonial developments, ever declaring that Britain was a “friend of all and satellite of none”?

Ditto any number of other states on the world stage, e.g the US, France, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, Israel, Cuba, North and South Korea, and a ton of others, more or less powerful and influential? Not one of them would have predicated their foreign policy on a foundational principle of universal friendship that makes no sense, even at the rhetorical, aspirational and declaratory level.

Logically, adherence to such a foundational principle would also have meant that The Barbados Government would be “friends” with the Apartheid white minority Government of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), which preached as a cardinal principle the innate inferiority of the black man. Similarly, Rhodesia under Ian Smith post 1965 and their system dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of white minority rule. Did the architects of Barbados’s foreign policy intend such strange friendships?

By analogy, even at the individual level, we may ask any ordinary, reasonable, prudent reader, whether growing up he or she was “friends” with everyone in their neighbourhood? Or, whether he or she was “friends” with everyone in their individual class or school? Or, yet again, whether he or she was “friends” with everyone in their place of employment?

As Aristotle reminded us long ago “a friend of all is a friend of none”.

At the empirical, existential level, this notion of “friends of all”, therefore makes no practical sense. Rather, it seemed a superficial, empty meretricious, sorely misplaced idea, naturally inimical to Barbados’s best national interests. It has clearly outlived any usefulness.

Rather, Barbados’s foreign policy should be at all times closely aligned, if not inextricably intertwined with advancing the goals articulated in its National Development Plan(s), dealing with various sectors, e.g trade, industry, banking and finance, international business, technology, security, law and order, tourism, agriculture. education, energy, infrastructure, human rights, etc, etc.

Let us therefore re-state the argument. Properly understood, any Barbados Government should not boast a foreign policy based on some erstwhile ethereal, unaudited bogus hocus pocus about being “friends of all and satellites of none”.

Rather, Barbados, as a small developing country of limited resources and facing serious political, economic and social challenges, has only interests (interests underlined, not “friends”) to be protected as a matter of its foreign policy, more than 50 years after independence, and various allies to be cultivated and maintained.

50 comments

  • Any FOREIGN POLICY should be structured on a basis of what benefits and facilitation are to be derived by any association with any country which respects human rights and development , nothing more, nothing less.

    Like

  • All Barbados previous FINANCIAL friends appear to have moved on to other less annoying friends, oh YES ONE NEW FRIEND IS HOVERING, the yellow menace from the east. It’s most likely this new friend will never abandon Barbados, just take over fully and Barbados will be known as CHINA WEST.

    This is the new Barbados Foreign Policy, tomorrow your going to wake up sleeping next to the fox/coyote in the chicken coop, ps: fox/coyote like to EAT chicken(bajans).

    Like

  • The pursuit of the $5Bil. from the UAE would have sold the country out ..stock and barrel.

    As a small country, we need to send a big/strong message to those countries who perpetrate injustices to their peoples by disallowing any handouts or inputs that does not resonate to our policy of humans first.

    No Trojan horses allowed, period.

    Such a FOREIGN POLICY needs first to be exhibited NATIONALY… certainly what is being forge is definitely a step backwards for future ramifications.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    Cammie Tudor would certainly have understood the historical context of “Friends of all, satellites of none.” It was a cold war formulation that sought to navigate deftly between the Scylla that was the Soviet Union supporting anti colonial liberation struggles, but the Charybdis of a USA that imposed the Munroe doctrine in this hemisphere. No-one, least of all Cammie, was naive enough to imagine that the SA apartheid regime was a friend, or that we were not in fact a functional satellite of the USA.

    The phrase was simply configured to eke out a little breathing room for our own self interest. It simultaneously enabled us to throw our moral support behind a leftist Bishop in wresting control of Grenada from Gairy’s thugs, but then phone up Reagan to send in the Marines when doctrinaire leftists murdered him.

    “Interests” is a similarly empty notion which we will configure to suit the needs of our current context. When and under what circumstances are we going to decide that China’s human rights record (or the USA’s human rights record when law enforcement declares open season on Black people) is, or is not, in our “interest.”

    By analogy, even at the individual level, don’t forget that the pimp and the prostitute each operate with almost exclusive regard to their “interests.”

    Like

  • You refuse aid/loans from the UAE but accetp from China for example? There is hardly morality to be found in geopolitics, it is interests as the author opines.

    Like

  • Rather, Barbados’s foreign policy should be at all times closely aligned, if not inextricably intertwined with advancing the goals articulated in its National Development Plan(s), dealing with various sectors, e.g trade, industry, banking and finance, international business, technology, security, law and order, tourism, agriculture. education, energy, infrastructure, human rights, etc, etc.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Barbados First …… now where did I hear something like that recently stated … and ridiculed!!

    I agree with “Barbados First”

    Each sovereign nation should give pride of place to its own interests.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @John
    “The America First Committee was the foremost United States non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. It was also characterized by anti-semitic and pro-fascist rhetoric.” Wikipedia

    Fitting company…

    Like

  • Foreign Policy Interests as in selling citizenship to “allies of economy”, or interests in allies to maintain the peg, scout for grants or membership of international bodies?

    If this is the construct, then “morally” geopolitics is a con-game and sets up the conditions for usury, trickery and deception to exist through diplomatic corridors.

    Technology, hardware and software et al can be had from source.
    Interests (countries/individuals) are only useful if their framework/worth supports our exploits, your friend (protocols)can be your worse enemy.

    Like

  • Theophilius Gazerts 263

    I gave up around the second paragraph. When folks start to equate the foreign policy of Barbados with that of GB or the US I know it is time for me to abandon the article.

    Intellectual masturbation…

    Liked by 1 person

  • Theophilius Gazerts 263

    Taking the statement out of the historical context means that one ignore the two large suns (US and USSR). It was an attempt by the then government of Barbados to signal it was not in either of the camps. In reality, we were in the US Orbit…

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington

    Those of us with whom it resonated interpreted the statement to mean that we will consider each case on its own merit. The frame of reference would be its international morality. The recent decision wrt to Jerusalem used that principle.

    Like

  • @Bernard

    Reasonable point.

    Note Barbados vote is consistent with positions taken on the UN floor. No surprises. The unknown variable in the equation is Trump!

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Bernard, you can be very understated…were you in the diplomatic corps?

    Context, context context. In a cold war world coming off issues re missiles on islands and pigs in Bays etc that statement certainly resonated with a bit more oomph than ‘each case on its merit’.

    I don’t recall but maybe you can…. EWB who made the statement subsequently called the US president a ‘cowboy’ and he meant it as pejoratively as it can be interpreted but did he ever use pejoratives to describe Gorbachev??

    Not saying your resonance is inaccurate but Barrow certainly had a more nuanced, lets say, off-center edge to his comments!

    I gone.

    Like

  • nineofnine February 5, 2018 at 9:02 PM #

    The pursuit of the $5Bil. from the UAE would have sold the country out ..stock and barrel.(Quote)

    Would this include taking a position on Israel in international fora? Would it include taking a position on Jihadists? Would this conflict with China, who has a massive Muslim population in its North-west?

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    Mugabe was recently removed from power by his own army; Zuma is now under severe pressure to step down from his role as president of South Africa. The ANC has requested him to step down with immediate effect. I wonder how long Stuart will remain in his position as Prime minister of Barbados and what method will be adopted to encourage him to step down. Africa is changing fast and is setting a great example to the world as to how leaders should be dispatched once they have reached their sell by date.

    I have always argued that Barbados should be collaborating with high quality small countries such as Costa Rica, Norway, Botswana, et al. We could learn a great deal from these countries unlike our Caricom neighbours who are too similar to ourselves and who bring very little to the table apart from crime and corruption.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/botswana-fight-corruption-africa-180202133111611.html

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing February 6, 2018 at 5:18 PM #

    We could learn a great deal from these countries unlike our Caricom neighbours who are too similar to ourselves and who bring very little to the table apart from crime and corruption (Quote)

    Are you sure the rest of the world has anything to teach Barbados? Look at pensions throughout the world and at our chaotic NIS; look at our schools, and in particular the teaching of maths and how other nations are changing and adapting and we remain standing still in Barbados (ironically, as you know, the UK has just sent dozens oaf teachers to China to learn their methods of teaching maths).
    Look at our transport system, our poor housing, criminal justice, our health service, skills training, our SMEs? Just look at the state of our democracy. We believe that we are the best and there is nothing that the rest of the world can teach us.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson February 5, 2018 at 11:05 PM #
    @John
    “The America First Committee was the foremost United States non-interventionist pressure group against the American entry into World War II. It was also characterized by anti-semitic and pro-fascist rhetoric.” Wikipedia
    Fitting company…

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Democrats!!!!

    I know, they were too racist for the Nazis!!

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington

    @ dpD at 3: 44 PM

    Was there any occasion or reason for EWB to address Gorbachev or any of his political activities? Gorbachev was never a thespian.

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Bernard, oh dear are you saying that Reagan was all political acting (thespian as you call it) whereas Gorbachev was all political action! Dear me, again 🤣

    Barrow was truly an interesting guy…arrogant to a fault so to speak.

    Lambasted Reagan no end and tip toed around the dictatorial rule of his buddies in Grenada, Guyana and of course Singapore ; yet he maintained democracy here and eschewed the ‘idolatry’ of knighthoods and other outward entitlements.

    Mongoose gangs of a czar are tolerated but the US imperial troops to crush a coup are a vexation.

    So, no I don’t recall if the great man ever gave voice to address a Gorbachev action at any of his annual UN pilgrimages.

    Like

  • peterlawrencethompson

    @John
    “Democrats!!!!
    I know, they were too racist for the Nazis!!”

    As usual John, you are lying. The “America First” party opposed FDR’s Democratic Party vehemently. Many America First party members were overt supporters of the Nazis. As I pointed out, you would have fit right in.

    Like

  • The “America First” party opposed FDR’s Democratic Party

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The America First Committee was formed in 1940, during the war, and disbanded in December 1941 when America was attacked by Japan.

    It became irrelevant fast!!

    FDR came to power in 1933!!!

    Never heard of the America First Party.

    I see one of the supporters was JFK, as a student!!

    Like

  • Theophilius Gazerts 263

    John! Do you consider yourself as racist?
    If No, Why not?
    You have spewed some of the most racist bullshit I’ve seen…

    Like

  • If you look at history you will see there was also a movement to keep America out of WWI !!!

    America only entered in 1917 for 19 months after Germany’s U-Boat campaign.

    Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 presidential slogan was “He kept us out of the War”!!

    In this case, America declared war.

    Like

  • Theophilius Gazerts 263 February 6, 2018 at 9:33 PM #
    John! Do you consider yourself as racist?
    If No, Why not?
    You have spewed some of the most racist bullshit I’ve seen…
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    I like history and the facts associated with it.

    Like

  • Many America First party members were overt supporters of the Nazis.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The NAZIs and the Democrats are very similar.

    I prefer the Republican Party although to be honest, it doesn’t matter as I can’t vote!!

    Like

  • @ Hal Austin February 6, 2018 at 4:32 PM #

    …”Would this include taking a position on Israel in international fora? Would it include taking a position on Jihadists? Would this conflict with China, who has a massive Muslim population in its North-west”…
    ………………………………………………………………

    The borrower is servant to the lender.. not so?

    You could as well add agreement of the Yemin genocide, human rights abuses including publicly beheading persons in the 21st century…. denouncing complicity in 911, and facilitation of proxy militias to accomplish a caliphate and opening borders for their ideological expansion.

    To my knowledge, they do not have a strong footing in our neck of the woods , only rumor of members being recruited out of TT.

    Collectively, the Caribbeans’ Foreign Policy should reflect the acceptance of genuine assistance across all fields and endeavors to repair, build and sustain each of our National Development Plans, while offering the many niche resources we possess.
    not by forfeiting our SOVERIGNTY or our peoples welfare to crafty instruments of stealth seeking to control, rule and govern from beyond like those musings on the African Continent.. but they too are becoming wide awake to the foreign influences .

    Like

  • Neat thing about facts, difficult to refute.

    You can ignore them but you can’t refute them!!

    Like

  • Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service

    Since countries have now pooled their resources in the spirit of national and international interest, will we see those who distribute fake medicines through their pharmacies in Barbados and across the Caribbean, investigated, arrested and sent to prison…

    Exactly what local and regional policies and criminal laws are in place to make this happen, to make greedy business people pay for these crimes..

    8:19 am, February 06, 2018, NEWS

    “Caribbean states launch system to fight fake drugs

    Member states can now report falsified medicines—CGIPW Group
    Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states are putting the health needs of their people first following the launch of a system for reporting substandard, falsified medicines in the region.

    VigiCarib, which was launched by the Caribbean Regulatory System (CRS) is a voluntary regional system which would ensure that medicines produced are safe, effective and of good quality.

    This means products of manufacturers and distributors would be monitored to ensure they are safe and of good quality.

    Patients would also be protected under this programme and their confidence in health care is expected to receive a boost.

    Through VigiCarib, CRS may share information about problematic products with CARICOM states, pool data to identify signals, and make recommendations to governments about regulatory actions, regional news portal Caribbean360 reports.

    The launch of the system comes on the back of concerns over the safety of medicines and monitoring systems in the region. Subsequent calls were made for regional pooling of resources, sharing of information, and how activities can be coordinated for stronger systems.

    The CRS is an initiative of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) which is made up of 15 states including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize,Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis,Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

    It is managed as a regulatory unit within CARICOM’s regional public health body, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and supported by a number of partners, including the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), PAHO designated National Regulatory Authorities of Regional Reference (NRA/RR) (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, United States), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).”

    Like

  • Lawson where are you?

    Trump took credit for the rising stock market as a measure of his success in restoring confidence in the US economy. Unfortunately, during the past few days the stock market declined, including the Dow Jones industrial average of almost 7 percent over two days.

    FOX News host Sean Hannity, who is a Trump supporter, BLAMED Obama for the stock market

    Like

  • There is a difference between the economy and the stock market. Financial economics 101.

    Like

  • I know you’re trying to prove a point, which does not merit a response. However, I quoted from Tom Brenner of The New York Times re:

    “President Trump relentlessly cited the stock market’s meteoric rise as a sign of his success at restoring confidence in the American economy.”

    Perhaps you should refer your comment re: “There is a difference between the economy and the stock market. Financial economics 101” to Trump and Brenner.

    However, movements in the stock market can have an impact on the economy and consumers. The 1929 stock market crash was instrumental in precipitating the Great Depression. (Economics 100)

    Like

  • Once more: There is a difference between the economy and the stock market. Financial economics 101.

    Like

  • @ Artax
    FOX News host Sean Hannity, who is a Trump supporter, BLAMED Obama for the stock market
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    He is right.
    Cockroach really have no true calling at fowl cock party.

    Obama should have minded his business and let them continue on the George Bush trajectory… of doom.
    Then they would have been no stock market to crash in 2018…… it would have sunk in 2008.

    Like

  • Once more: I’m tired of proving you incorrect……why don’t you scroll past my contributions?

    Like

  • @ Bushie

    Yes, I agree with your comments.

    On another note, it seems as though there aren’t any fundamental differences between USA and Caribbean politics and how the press operates in both regions.

    Like

  • I hope you know more about financial economics than you know about auditing. You prove consistently that a little learning is a dangerous thing. The economy is different to the stock market. I am not being rude, but it is boring trying to debate with a chartered accountant, ACCA qualified, whose level of knowledge is at this level.
    It does not matter which tabloid television journalist yo quote. It takes a bit more knowledge to impress me, knowledge that would not come from reading the Nation or Googling foreign newspapers. I worked on them.
    This is not for you, as I already got a measure of your intelligence; it is for the others: The causes of the Great Depression is still a live debate among economists, which was re-lived during the 2008 banking crisis. Go back to the reports then. Bernanke did his thesis on the Great Depression, that is why some people thought he was the right man in the right place at the time.
    That was why we got the policy of quantitative easing, which the developed economies are still trying to escape from.
    I find it boring talking about this ten years after the event. I suggest you read the Chicago School, Bernanke and JK Galbraith.
    I am out of this; I am not a teacher. I think you argue for argument’s sake. Rum shop nonsense.

    Like

  • Why would you want to engage in a “debate” with someone with my level of intelligence? Does this not make you much less intelligent? Why continue allowing someone with my level of intelligence prove you incorrect?

    But, Hal……you should be the last person to talk about my level of intelligence…….when YOU gave BU an EXAMPLE of YOUR LEVEL of INTELLIGENCE.

    Imagine YOU, Hal Austin……..a SELF PROFESSED financial guru, award winning journalist and advisor, an INTELLIGENT man…….a man that claimed to have developed a university course…….

    ………….ALLOWED your WIFE to WASTE a $1,000 buying a time share in Divi Southwinds, only to subsequently LOSE her money….and then come to this forum to “BRAG” about it.

    Wuh Hal…… that is definitely “rum shop nonsense.” Hahahahahaha…uh lie?

    Shiite, Hal………even a man with my level of intelligence would have fallen for that scam.

    I guess Financial Advice 101 was not applicable to that situation. (Wait……wunnuh still married?)

    And let’s discuss “arguing for arguments sake.” YOU COULD HAVE DONE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AND IGNORED MY COMMENT.

    Instead, as usual, you have to resort to the gutter with your pejorative comments and insults to make a “thing out of it.”

    Hal, uh gone!!!!

    Like

  • @peterlawrencethompson February 5, 2018 at 9:33 PM “When and under what circumstances are we going to decide that China’s human rights record (or the USA’s human rights record when law enforcement declares open season on Black people) is, or is not, in our “interest.”

    When has the US not declared open season on black people, especially young black men?

    Like

  • @Wily Coyote February 5, 2018 at 8:37 PM the yellow menace from the east. It’s most likely this new friend will never abandon Barbados, just take over fully and Barbados will be known as CHINA WEST.”

    And does the “yellow menace from the east” differ from the white menaces from the north, and how does China West differ from Little England?

    Like

  • What is the consensus about Tillerson’s visit to Jamaica? Where is the interest? Is it about the US seeing an ally against Venezuela or repayment for Jamaica’s Jerusalem’s vote?

    Like

  • What is foreign and what is local? Scientists are now telling us that the first britons were black people, so for Hal and others, I am coming, coming, coming home:

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/07/first-modern-britons-dark-black-skin-cheddar-man-dna-analysis-reveals
    First modern Britons had ‘dark to black’ skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals
    The genome of Cheddar Man, who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair

    Like

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @Bernard re “I have some difficulty in comprehending the relevance of your first paragraph to the issue of competent crisis management. Surely management of the crisis did not begin and end at Glendairy. That is why I emphasized acceptable evidence ….”

    I agree that excellent crisis management can stand on its own in any situation. I get your and @Enuff’s point that there was no efficient public manaement of this phase of the crisis.

    However the comparisons of crisis management in my estimation stop there.

    But let’s leave it there.

    Like

  • @David February 7, 2018 at 7:01 PM “What is the consensus about Tillerson’s visit to Jamaica? Where is the interest? Is it about the US seeing an ally against Venezuela or repayment for Jamaica’s Jerusalem’s vote?”

    Answer: Repayment for Jamaica’s Jerusalem’s vote.

    Like

  • The talk about ‘interest’ as the primary consideration on which foreign policy is best constructed is the language of hegemons.

    It in difficult to conjure how such an estimation could be supported in a real world

    However, if it could mean that Barbados should support, like it has, a world with fewer sharks or that the sharks are too busy seeking to eat each other or were there are no big fish at all, that may indeed be a national interest

    But we prefer not to bet on such odds. They are all too uncertain.

    For small countries to talk about international affairs in those terms would also mean the application of military might in furtherance of these ‘interests’ – hard power

    For Barbados cannot say a modern health service, for example, is in its national interests and when another state decides to take actions which would make that less possible then lack at least an equal response.

    Soft power projection maybe more within the means of mauby pocketed countries.

    Barbados has never even sought to embark thereon. The country has no instincts to protect its peoples scattered hinder, thither and yon.

    There has never been any desire for soft power projection. Barbados has always been no more than a cheerleader for empire.

    Bajans living abroad have never even known the right to vote, to be protected for all manner of arrows by a succession of governments administering what is no more than a contemporary colonial outpost masquerading as a country.

    Like

  • Dr. Simple Simon February 7, 2018 at 7:06 PM #
    What is foreign and what is local? Scientists are now telling us that the first britons were black people, so for Hal and others, I am coming, coming, coming home:
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/07/first-modern-britons-dark-black-skin-cheddar-man-dna-analysis-reveals
    First modern Britons had ‘dark to black’ skin, Cheddar Man DNA analysis reveals
    The genome of Cheddar Man, who lived 10,000 years ago, suggests that he had blue eyes, dark skin and dark curly hair
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130170343.htm

    “Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Hans Eiberg from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a “switch,” which literally “turned off” the ability to produce brown eyes.”

    Like

  • Theophilius Gazerts 263 February 6, 2018 at 9:33 PM #
    John! Do you consider yourself as racist?
    If No, Why not?
    You have spewed some of the most racist bullshit I’ve seen…
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    At the risk of being considered a racist, …. not that it matters to me, …. I see there is a Black Moon due in February!!

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/first-black-moon-19-years-14249052

    Like

  • If Barbados recognises China, and benefits enormously from Chinese loans, and St Vincent recognises Taiwan and benefits handsomely from Taiwan, does that mean the so-called relationship Stuart has with Gonsalves is fake?

    Like

  • The fish and dragon festival will soon be our major cultural event; next our soldiers will be goose-stepping.
    For Sale: The cultural values of Barbados.

    Like

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