William Hague, who served as the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2014. In 2016, Hague was hired by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to provide counsel on foreign policy matters and represent its interests in Europe. This association has drawn both praise and criticism, sparking a debate over the ethics and implications of such alliances.
A Vocal Supporter of the UAE
Hague’s support for the UAE has been unwavering. In a 2017 speech, he lauded the UAE as a “force for good” in the world, highlighting its role as a “beacon of stability and prosperity in a region that is often turbulent.” He commended the UAE’s track record on human rights and its dedication to religious tolerance, asserting its positive influence on the global stage.
Controversy Surrounding Hague’s Appointment
However, Hague’s appointment as an advisor to the UAE government has not been without controversy. Critics argue that he is using his position to bolster the interests of a regime criticized for its repression. They contend that his involvement legitimizes a government with a checkered human rights record. In response, Hague has defended his decision, claiming that his efforts are aimed at assisting the UAE in its journey toward greater openness and democracy.
Hague’s Role within the UAE Government
Hague’s role within the UAE government extends beyond mere advisory functions:
1. Abu Dhabi Global Market: In 2017, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, a financial free zone in the UAE.
2. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority: In 2018, Hague joined the board of directors of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a sovereign wealth fund with assets exceeding $700 billion.
3. Emirates Policy Centre: He also serves as a member of the advisory board of the Emirates Policy Centre, a prominent think tank based in the UAE.
Hague’s association with the UAE government has proven to be financially rewarding. In 2017, it was reported that he was earning an annual income exceeding £1 million for his advisory services, adding to the complexities of his role and the scrutiny it has attracted.
Hague’s appointment as an advisor to the UAE government remains contentious. Critics accuse him of whitewashing the UAE’s human rights record and advancing its interests in Europe, while supporters argue that he is genuinely committed to facilitating the UAE’s transformation into a more open and democratic society.
The debate surrounding William Hague’s role in the UAE government serves as a reminder of the ethical dilemmas faced by prominent individuals who choose to engage with governments with controversial reputations. It highlights the complexities of balancing personal beliefs, financial incentives, and geopolitical considerations in the realm of international advisory roles.