Imperial Crisis and Soviet
The difficulties which Lloyd George experienced in obtaining support for his policy towards Russia at the Genoa and Hague conferences showed how serious the rifts within the Cabinet had become by the summer of 1922. The Premier's eagerness to placate the Russians, at the expense, it appeared, of fundamental and more long-standing British interests, was one of the issues on which Cabinet differences ran deepest; but there were others, including the settlement in Ireland, the reputed sale of political honours, and developments in the Near East. Overcome by these divisions, the Coalition government collapsed in October 1922, and at a general election the following month the Conservatives were returned to power. The perspectives in foreign affairs with which Lloyd George had been so closely associated — agreement through negotiation, Europe as the principal arena of policy, and an emphasis upon the stimulation of foreign trade—would now, it appeared, be succeeded by a more orthodox interpretation of British foreign policy within which imperial considerations, and the interests of British possessions in the East more particularly, might be expected to assume an altogether more prominent place.
There was, of course, a good deal which was traditional about this interpretation of British foreign policy, and there was a good deal which was traditional also about the increasing degree of attention which began to be devoted in this connection to the activities of the Russian government in Asia. But although the struggle for influence between the two powers in that continent was of relatively long standing, there was something new about the form which that rivalry now assumed: for the expansion of Russian influence was associated after 1917, as it had not been before, with the propagation of a revolutionary and anti‐ imperialist ideology which appealed directly to disaffected radicals throughout the colonial world. Western civilisation, in Lord