Boris Johnson paints grim picture of 'less safe' world


The world is "less safe, more dangerous and more worrying" than it was 10 years ago - partly because of a "lack of western self-confidence" in the region's political, military and economic ideals, Boris Johnson has claimed.

The Foreign Secretary received a rousing ovation from party members as he spoke at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

But in a speech laden with characteristic jokes, the former Tory leadership-hopeful also painted a grim picture of the state of the world as he accused Russia of being "complicit" in carrying out war crimes in Syria.

Mr Johnson said the UK "must be humble and realistic enough to accept that in many eyes the notion that we could endlessly expand the realm of liberal democracy was badly damaged" by the Iraq War.

Meanwhile, he said free market capitalism was "seriously discredited by the crash of 2008, and the global suspicion of bankers".

He likened those two issues to "punches" which had led to a lack of confidence.

"If you look at the course of events in the last 10 years, I am afraid you can make the case that it is partly as a result of that lack of western self-confidence - political, military, economic - that in some material ways the world has got less safe, more dangerous and more worrying," he said.

"After a long post-war period in which the world was getting broadly more peaceful, the number of deaths in conflict has risen from 49,000 in 2010 to 167,000 last year.

"The global number of refugees is up by 30% on 2013 to 46 million last year."

Mr Johnson said "much of that crisis" with refugees could be attributed to the war in Syria and the "wider arc of instability" across the region.

He said: "This matters profoundly to our country because it is the continuing savagery of the Asad regime against the people of Aleppo and the complicity of the Russians in committing what are patently war crimes - bombing hospitals, when they know they are hospitals and nothing but hospitals - that is making it impossible for peace negotiations to resume and that is prolonging a migration crisis that last year overwhelmed Europe's ability to cope."