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    Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.

    No Wars, No Dodgy Trade Deals: Corbyn Challenges Britain’s Status Quo

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    British MP Jeremy Corbyn has criticized the UK’s overseas military actions, saying he couldn’t justify sending British troops abroad to fight at the present time. In an attack on the establishment, the 66-year-old also took aim at the EU, accusing the bloc of tearing up Europe’s social standards.

    Representing a public shift against overseas military intervention, Labour leadership candidate Corbyn, who is considered to be the overwhelming favorite to lead Britain’s main opposition party, said he struggled to see a set of circumstances that warranted deploying British forces in overseas battles. 

    When quizzed on if there were any circumstances that warranted an international intervention, Corbyn replied:

    "Any? I am sure there are some. But I can’t think of them at the moment."

    At present Britain is involved in the US-led coalition’s bombing campaign of ISIL targets in Iraq, however the Conservative government has been pushing to win support to expand the campaign into Syria. There have been no suggestions from any of the major parties to deploy boots on the ground to fight against ISIL.

    Corbyn has previously said that although he might not be a pacifist, he would need to see conflict on the scale of the Second World War to justify sanctioning an overseas military intervention, and that he would only do so with a UN mandate.

    In a blatant criticism of the UK’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Corbyn said:

    "We should have stuck with the UN and given far more support to the UN. Surely we want to live in a world that is based on the rule of international law. The UN is quintessentially part of international law."

    He has been critical of the Western approach to tackling ISIL, arguing that expanding the bombing campaign in Syria would be ineffective in defeating the group and will merely result in more civilian deaths.

    Claims Civilians Killed in 71 US-led Airstrikes

    Corbyn’s comments follow allegations that civilians in Syria and Iraq have been killed in 71 separate US-led bombing raids. 

    A spokesperson for the US Central Command (CENTCOM) told the Guardian that while many of the 71 claims have been dismissed, there were ten incidents being investigated to ascertain whether US-led strikes, aimed at ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria, in fact resulted in civilian deaths.

    As it stands, the international coalition acknowledges that civilians have been killed in only one strike — a US attack in November 2014 that claimed the lives of two Syrian children.

    The claims that civilians may have been killed in as many as 71 air raids has raised further questions over the anti-ISIL bombing campaign, which has been described by military officials as one of the most precise ever.

    These allegations, along with UN reports of heavy civilian casualties caused by Saudi-led, Western-backed strikes in Yemen, have contributed to an increase in anti-war activism in both the US and Britain.

    EU Tearing Up Social Chapter

    On top of the criticism of the West’s military agenda, Corbyn unleashed a scathing attack on the current functioning of the European Union, saying that he was concerned the bloc was operating “like a free market across Europe”, which was having a damaging impact on the continent’s working class.

    "I am concerned about the way the EU is increasingly operating like a free market across Europe, tearing up the social chapter, damaging the working class and workers’ interests across Europe, hiding tax evasion in Luxembourg and other places and secretly negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)."

    The Islington North MP has been a vocal critic of the proposed TTIP, arguing that it will favor big business and lead to an erosion of workers’ rights across the continent.

    While Corbyn has not said that he would like to leave the EU, he has publicly expressed his distaste for the manner in which operations are being run in Brussels, and has said that change is needed if the bloc is to remain sustainable.

    "We as a party need to be making strong demands of defending and expanding the social chapter, defending and expanding workers’ rights across Europe and chasing down these approved tax havens allowed to exist by the EU all across Europe and asking some serious questions about the way they have treated the people of Greece and other countries by their imposition of austerity measures on them."

    Jeremy Corbyn’s previously unpredicted rise in grassroots support has shocked many in the UK, with the veteran left-winger seemingly bringing together large swathes of Britain’s anti-US, anti-European elements that are fed up with the country’s political establishment.

    With fears Corbyn may dramatically alter the UK's international relations and jeopardize Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with major allies such as the US, there are also concerns that his open criticism of Brussels may lead to a surge in support for those campaigning for a Brexit — something the establishment is looking to avoid.

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    European Union, conflict, war, politics, foreign policy, international affairs, TTIP, Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, United Kingdom, Europe
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