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He was essentially an opportunist and always placed Britains immediate interests above any underlying principle or moral consideration Lee The above quotation describes Disraeli very well His primary and permanently sustained goal was his own political career and the short-term interests of Britain This can be seen as both a criticism and a positive aspect Such a description is justified by looking at Disraelis foreign policy during his period in office between 1874 and 1880 Such policy falls into four main categories the purchase of Suez Canal Shares the Zulu War the Afghan War and the Eastern Question As outlined above Disraeli was an opportunist and by nature was always more interested in the short term than the long-term simply because the long-term had no immediate benefit to him the Conservatives or the country Disraeli believed in the greatness of Great Britain Scott-Baumann and this is very much apparent in his handling of the Eastern Question This question was arguably the most complex of all problems faced by nineteenth century diplomats The crumbling Ottoman Empire and the oppression of the Christian races in the Balkans both heightened these peoples want for freedom and the desire of the Russian Empire to expand southward at the expense of the Turks Disraelis involvement in this issue came from the fact that Russian expansion might threaten the vital Suez Canal and also that he felt British prestige in the Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asia were also at stake To Disraeli the issue was obvious Constantinople is the key to India and this principle laid the foundation for Britains commitment to upholding the Ottoman Empire It was not until June 1876 when news reached London of an uprising in Bulgaria which the Turks had repressed with appalling brutality killing 12000 Bulgarian peasants that Disraelis
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