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    Gordon Brown’s Foreign Policy


    by Rumbold on 13th November, 2007 at 11:34 am    

    Gordon Brown spoke about his foreign policy in detail for the first time since becoming Prime Minister. Previously, Mr. Brown was considered to be obsessed with domestic policy, with foreign affairs very much on the periphery:

    “ Tougher sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas fields were proposed by Gordon Brown as part of international efforts to persuade Tehran to abandon its alleged attempts to acquire a nuclear bomb.

    Energy companies would be banned from exploiting reserves for use by Iran if the sanctions outlined by the Prime Minister in a wide-ranging foreign affairs speech last night are endorsed by the EU or the UN. Those measures could be coupled with tougher economic sanctions by international banks if a report due shortly from the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) shows that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime continues to defy the international community over the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

    Mr Brown made it clear that Britain believes tougher sanctions – rather than the threats of military action – against Iran are starting to work, although his senior officials insisted that “nothing is ruled out”.”

    This is perhaps the most noticeable endorsement of America’s policy towards Iran. Admittedly, Brown has not called for Iran to be attacked if they do not comply, but there is a lot less carrot and a lot more stick than before, though there is this interesting proposal:

    “On Iran, Mr Brown answered defence chiefs who have warned that bellicose mutterings could prove counter-productive. He proposed internationally-agreed access to an enrichment bond or nuclear fuel bank to help non-nuclear states such as Iran to acquire the new sources of energy they need.”

    It sounds like a nice idea, but can’t such nuclear fuel be converted into weapons-grade nuclear material (I honestly do not know)?

    “Mapping out his strategy of “hard-headed internationalism” for Britain’s future foreign policy, Mr Brown marked a shift from Tony Blair’s readiness to act as foremost ally of the US and favoured confidant of President George W Bush.”

    One suspects that this was more for domestic consumption than a policy decision. Brown is likely to be more distant from the White House than Tony Blair was, but the only reason to say so was to appease the Labour Party. To what extent will there actually be a shift towards ‘realism’ in Britain’s foreign policy? These were perhaps the more telling remarks:

    “Mr Brown said he would have “no truck with anti-Americanism” and stressed that the US remained Britain’s “most important bilateral relationship”.”

    Though I think that Blair was too close to Bush, I am glad that Brown has no truck with the ridiculous notion about needing a multi-polar world to ‘balance’ American hegemony (i.e. people want undemocratic ‘powers’ like China, the EU or Russia to be as strong as America). Of course America benefits from other strong countries, but not the extent that an undemocratic superpower is its equal (such as during the Cold War).

    “The Prime Minister also called for a standby civilian force including members of the police and judiciary to be created to deal with international crises such as Rwanda and Darfur.”

    This sounds a bit suspect. Surely the police have enough to do. I agree with the sentiment, which was that forces sent to help other countries need more skills than just fighting, but am not sure how it would work in practice.

    “Turning his attention to Pakistan, he reiterated the call for General Musharraf to step down as chief of the army and to press ahead with elections in January.”

    Well, a fairly obvious statement, but I suppose he had to make it.

    “Britain had to be guided by “hard-headed internationalism – internationalist because global challenges need global solutions and nations must co-operate across borders, often with hard-headed intervention … hard-headed because we will not shirk from the difficult long-term decisions.”

    He added: “Today, a nation’s self-interest will be found not in isolation but in co-operation to overcome shared challenges – we must bring to life these shared interests and shared values by practical proposals to create the architecture.”"

    This more than anything probably sums up Brown’s foreign policy approach. Working with international institutions but not subsuming Britain into them (note Brown’s use of ‘Britain and Europe’ rather than ‘Britain and the rest of Europe’).

    It was also nice to see Brown not looking like a football hooligan for once at a formal dinner, since he has now spent taxpayers’ money on a white tie outfit complete with tails (for once I do not begrudge him our money).


         
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    1. ZinZin — on 13th November, 2007 at 12:11 pm  

      Rumbold:
      That jibe aimed at Mr Brown’s percieved lack of sartorial elegance is rather unnecessary.

      Theory is fine: practice will be a continuation of Blair’s policies.

    2. Morgoth — on 13th November, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

      That jibe aimed at Mr Brown’s percieved lack of sartorial elegance is rather unnecessary.

      Au contraire, its more than necessary. Politicians of all stripes deserve to be mercilessly mocked and abused.

      If lefties can seethe and whinge about Bullingdon club outfits, then Brown can be mocked for his hooliganness.

    3. Refresh — on 13th November, 2007 at 1:04 pm  

      Rumbold, don’t you think there was a bit of appeasement in this. Appeasing Cheney and Bush?

      Problem is, that is how Blair started out and led us to believe that it would give him more influence over Bush. In reality it gave Bush much more influence over Britain.

      As for offering an externally controlled nuclear bank - is he such a fool that would be enough for any country, let alone Iran? It gives complete control of a country’s energy policy to US/UK (do not say the International Community). And if Iran does not take advantage of this proposal, then there will be all out sanctions. And then the invasion. Make no mistake - Brown is appeasing.

      Control of Iran’s energy policy (supply of raw materials) over to the US would mean permanent control of Iran’s economy.

      It would in 40 years time, be a complete reversal of the energy supply equation. Its Oil now and Brown sees it will be Nuclear in the future.

      More wars.

    4. ZinZin — on 13th November, 2007 at 1:32 pm  

      “If lefties can seethe and whinge about Bullingdon club outfits, then Brown can be mocked for his hooliganness.”

      Pot, Kettle.

    5. Morgoth — on 13th November, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

      That’s my point, Zinzin. Too often the left is “do as we say, not as we do”.

    6. Rumbold — on 13th November, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

      ZinZin:

      “Theory is fine: practice will be a continuation of Blair’s policies.”

      In some areas it will be, but not in the general approach. Blair viewed Britain mainly as a means to project himself onto the world stage, wanting to bask in the limelight of the EU, America, G8, Nato etc. British interests were an afterthought. Brown on the other hands appears much more Brit-centric (aside from the EU constitution). He seems to view supra-national institutions as devices to help nations, rather than Blair’s view that nations existed to aid supra-national institutions.

      ZinZin and Morgoth:

      Mr. Brown has now smartened himself up, which needed to be said.

      Refresh:

      ” Rumbold, don’t you think there was a bit of appeasement in this. Appeasing Cheney and Bush?

      Problem is, that is how Blair started out and led us to believe that it would give him more influence over Bush. In reality it gave Bush much more influence over Britain.”

      I certainly think that there was a nod in Bush’s direction over Iran and general attitudes towards the Whie House. Not sure that I would label it appeasement though. Brown’s tone seems different from Blair- the US is now just one ally (albeit the most important), rather than being THE ally.

      “As for offering an externally controlled nuclear bank - is he such a fool that would be enough for any country, let alone Iran? It gives complete control of a country’s energy policy to US/UK (do not say the International Community).”

      The Iranians probably will not go for it. So you think that it is a ruse then, rather than a genuine offer? That does not seem impossible.

      “More wars.”

      A statement or a hope?

    7. Refresh — on 13th November, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

      “More wars.”

      A statement or a hope?

      A call to mobilisation to put a halt to the madness.

    8. Morgoth — on 13th November, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

      I doubt the Mullahs will listen to you though, Refresh.

      That’s the trouble with theocratic lunatics who hang people for being gay or stone women for “adultery”.

    9. Refresh — on 13th November, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

      I am not allowed to talk to you Morgoth. Goodness knows when you will get deleted (lets hope its soon) - and me as an accessory.

    10. Refresh — on 13th November, 2007 at 6:20 pm  

      “That’s the trouble with theocratic lunatics who hang people for being gay or stone women for “adultery”.

      That equates nicely with your need to bomb them into the stone age. Presumably with a million more deaths to add to the million in Iraq.

      Because you advocate a change in Iranian laws you would like to kill a million of them? To save their women you are going to have to kill a few hundred thousand of their children.

      And you are the rational one?

      Do not insult the intelligence of PP readers with your cloak of humanitarianism.

      Reminds me of a running dialogue I had with Julie Burchill in her Lindalotte days. Until she just disappeared. I guess in your case we could continue until you get deleted.

    11. Don — on 13th November, 2007 at 6:23 pm  

      ‘…an externally controlled nuclear bank…would in 40 years time, be a complete reversal of the energy supply equation.’

      Cynical but plausible. Does anybody have a link to a map showing distribution of the valuable materials? I can’t seem to find one.

      Just want to know who to grovel to/ demonise next.

    12. Rumbold — on 13th November, 2007 at 8:05 pm  

      Refresh:

      “I am not allowed to talk to you Morgoth. Goodness knows when you will get deleted (lets hope its soon) - and me as an accessory.”

      You are not going to get deleted anytime soon- as far as I am concerned you two are having a legitimate debate about foreign policy.

    13. Refresh — on 13th November, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

      “as far as I am concerned you two are having a legitimate debate about foreign policy.”

      No no Rumbold. Only one of us is. The other is pulling the wool over your eyes.

    14. Letters From A Tory — on 14th November, 2007 at 7:46 am  

      “It was also nice to see Brown not looking like a football hooligan for once at a formal dinner, since he has now spent taxpayers’ money on a white tie outfit complete with tails (for once I do not begrudge him our money).”

      When he’s getting paid over £300,000 a year, I bloody well hope he’s spending his own money on a new suit of any description!!!

      http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

    15. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      No no Rumbold. Only one of us is. The other is pulling the wool over your eyes.

      My powers keep growing, I see. Better watch out for my Jedi Mind Tricks, Refresh. They’ve already convinced Rumbold I’m not the poster he’s looking for.

      As for your abominable defense of the stoners of Women and the hangers of Gays, that is just what it is, abominable. One can safely conclude that you would have been against any action against old Mr Hitler because “people would get killed”. Henry Kissinger thanks you for your realpolitick fetish.

    16. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:22 am  

      Morgoth,
      “My powers keep growing”

      No, not your powers.

    17. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:30 am  

      Thank you Refresh, but my penis is quite large enough already.

    18. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:33 am  

      Refresh and Morgoth:

      “That equates nicely with your need to bomb them into the stone age. Presumably with a million more deaths to add to the million in Iraq.

      Because you advocate a change in Iranian laws you would like to kill a million of them? “

      “As for your abominable defense of the stoners of Women and the hangers of Gays, that is just what it is, abominable. One can safely conclude that you would have been against any action against old Mr Hitler because “people would get killed”.”

      Morgoth, Refresh never said anything like that- please don’t smear him/her. I am all for a vigorous debate, but please stop accusing people of being Nazi-appeasers and being fond of stoning women and hanging gays. Refresh- Morgoth can be in favour of intervening in other countries without wanting to kill millions of them.

      You both have strong views on this subject, which is great for a debate. You both are able to make your arguments clearly and coherantly when you want to, so do that please.

    19. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:38 am  

      I am perfectly willing to debate. Refresh, on the other hand, has a problem with opinions opposite to his, and seeks to censor anything he doesn’t agree with (for which the whining Zohra over at LC has become infamous for in the right-wing blogosphere)

    20. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:40 am  

      Morgoth, your #17 makes my point perfectly.

      Delusions is what I meant.

    21. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:58 am  

      Rumbold

      “Refresh- Morgoth can be in favour of intervening in other countries without wanting to kill millions of them.”

      Even when he has proof that is the likely outcome? Wanting is one thing, but knowing the probability of a different result and still pushing for it says more than you give him credit for. You might recall he is a rational scientist, and statistics is central to science.

      How do his ‘wants’ help gays and women?

      And lets suppose he gets his regime change, and perhaps not a million dead, but 10% of that number. That’s still 100,000. Being the humanitarian that he is, would he be keeping a body count.

      Would he be interested in holding an inquest for every person that is killed, which is the norm for civilised people?

    22. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 12:01 pm  

      “I am perfectly willing to debate. Refresh, on the other hand, has a problem with opinions opposite to his, and seeks to censor anything he doesn’t agree with (for which the whining Zohra over at LC has become infamous for in the right-wing blogosphere)”

      I am on record opposing your deletions. I see you as an object of wonderment.

    23. Jai — on 14th November, 2007 at 12:04 pm  

      Thank you Refresh, but my penis is quite large enough already.

      Watch out Refresh, your sparring partner is getting a little too turned on by “jousting” with you…..

    24. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      Jai,

      You may be right. Amir did too - even invited me on a date.

      Not to worry, I think we have the measure of Morgoth.

    25. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 12:24 pm  

      Refresh:

      “Even when he has proof that is the likely outcome? Wanting is one thing, but knowing the probability of a different result and still pushing for it says more than you give him credit for. You might recall he is a rational scientist, and statistics is central to science.

      How do his ‘wants’ help gays and women?

      And lets suppose he gets his regime change, and perhaps not a million dead, but 10% of that number. That’s still 100,000. Being the humanitarian that he is, would he be keeping a body count.”

      Well why don’t you ask that to Morgoth, and have a debate about the pros and cons of such an intervention. Since neither of you are evil, you evidently both want what is best for Iran/Iraq, you just disagree on what that is. On a side note, are you a man or a woman (you don’t have to answer, but there seems to be a deal of confusion)?

    26. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 12:50 pm  

      Morgoth, I put to you what I said to Rumbold. Your response would be warmly welcome.

      Rumbold, why are you confused about my gender? Is it the way I write?

      As for Morgoth wanting the best for Iran/Iraq there is no evidence to support that assertion.

    27. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

      As for Morgoth wanting the best for Iran/Iraq there is no evidence to support that assertion.

      I supported the overthrow of Saddam. You wanted him kept in power.

      Oh, and don’t worry, Refresh, you’re not my type. You’ve presumably got a penis, for starters.

    28. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

      “I supported the overthrow of Saddam. You wanted him kept in power.”

      Some of us never wanted him in power. We did not want the CIA to give him a target list of leftists and trade unionists - who promptly disappeared. We did not want him armed to the teeth; we did not want him to start a war with Iran; we did not want him to gas people. And throughout all of that I am pretty sure your voice would have been silent.

      You need to do some research, and if you did it as thoroughly as you did exploring the stars - and then still pursue your hobby of world domination then we would have nothing to say to each other. Except that I and the vast majority of population of the world would have no choice but to stand up to you and your delusion.

    29. douglas clark — on 14th November, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

      Morgoth,

      Why is it always black and white with you? If we do not immediately get into bed with your ideas of interventionism, which honestly seem to be to the right of Ghengis Khan most of the time, then anyone that disagrees with you is an appeaser. Have you thought this philosophy through, or did you just wake up one morning with this idea in your head? “Oh, it’s easy peasy to be a warmonger, well, that’s that settled then.”

      On another thread, we are agreed that the Spanish protection of their monarchy is ludicrous. Fancy a quick intervention and a little collateral damage? What is your ‘tipping point’ for intervention? By which you quite clearly mean the USA in full battle order. What cost, in terms of other peoples lives, are you willing to pay? The answer is apparently ‘whatever it takes’.

      Not good enough. Please try harder. There are options between appeasement and the illuminated parking lot.

    30. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

      “and your delusion”

      However big it might have become.

    31. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

      “Oh, and don’t worry, Refresh, you’re not my type. You’ve presumably got a penis, for starters.”

      You see I happen to think you are actually a wee-bit homophobe. Perhaps we will explore that in our next session.

    32. Jai — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

      You see I happen to think you are actually a wee-bit homophobe. Perhaps we will explore that in our next session.

      I bet that’s not the only thing he’d like to explore with you, snarf snarf snarf…..

      Oh, behave.

    33. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:18 pm  

      Jai, stop it….

    34. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      You see I happen to think you are actually a wee-bit homophobe.

      Homophobe?

      Not at all. I’m friends with too many gays and trans for that. In fact, I’m on the record as supporting gay marriage and full equality, and indeed have spent an inordinate amount of time recently on various right-wing blogs having a go at homophobes. I don’t care what holes people stick their appendages in, it makes little difference to me. Personally I’m hetero, but there you go.

      You on the other hand, support regimes that hang people for being gay. So who is the homophobe here?

    35. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:21 pm  

      Refresh:

      “Rumbold, why are you confused about my gender? Is it the way I write?”

      Nothing to do with that, just that I do not know whether to refer to you as a he or a she.

      As for Morgoth’s supposed homophobia, I do recall him defending gay marriage and related issues numerous times.

    36. Jai — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

      Refresh,

      stop it….

      That’s exactly what you’ll be saying to him in a coy, faux-innocent “I’m asking you to stop but I don’t really mean it” kinda way, like a 70s Bollywood heroine turning her face away and pretending to pull back from the sideburned macho hero refusing to let go of your hand, medallion clanging against his bewigged chest, swaggeringly miming to the baritone-voiced singing in the background.

    37. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

      I’ll let him off.

    38. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      Why is it always black and white with you?

      Because some things ARE black and white.

      I don’t see much on Pickled Politics about, say, Education in Prisons, or the role of Trade Unions, or Environmental Protection Legislation, the Good Friday Agreement, or even Global Warming, where my views are very much shades of grey, and are constantly evolving.

      But when it comes to Fascism/Racism, and the appeasement thereof and the making of excuses for, then yes, my views are black and white. You have various commenters here who would, for example, happily stand by and watch a new Holocaust take place (driven bya nuclear-armed Iran) because of their inane anti-Western hatred. You have various commenters here who have admitted that, from the safely of a western democracy, they would have condemned Iraqis to another 50 years of one of the most despicable tyrannical regimes on the planet. And you have the nerve to question my motives? What next, questioning Churchill’s views on the Nazis?

      Why don’t you complain about my black & white views on abortion, for example?

      There are options between appeasement and the illuminated parking lot.

      Which. Don’t. Work.

      Rwanda. Srebrenica. So much for your “options”, Douglas.

    39. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      Morgoth

      “Not at all. I’m friends with too many gays and trans for that.”

      You are still a wee-bit.

    40. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

      Oh really? How?

      Do tell.

    41. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

      Oh no. Still no sense of humour.

    42. Jai — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

      I’m sorry Refresh; from now on, whenever I see your “banter” with your online suitor, the only image in my mind will be that song from the Hindi film “Saagar” where Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia (in a striking red sari) are both singing “Paas aao na”/”Jaane do na” next to that swimming pool.

      Great film, beautiful music, stylish picturisation of that song, very disturbing imagery when transposed to a certain two commenters on PP.

      With apologies to Rumbold for the threadjack. Back to business…..

    43. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      Not seen that one - but I got the picture. Disturbing.

    44. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:37 pm  

      Actually Morgoth, aren’t transexuals treated quite well in Iran?

    45. bananabrain — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

      oh, come on, can’t the two of you argue without it getting personal? i think you’ve both got good points to make, but frankly i can’t be arsed with the ad hominem name-calling.

      …you fecking feathered eejits.

      refresh, i just can’t see what you *do* suggest that would actually work. opposing things is all very well, but what are you actually *for*?

      and morgoth, i find it hard to distinguish between your oft-stated distaste for religion and your wish to protect jewish people from prejudice. it feels like the old enlightenment bargain:

      “we’ll stop treating you like jews if you stop behaving like jews”

      in other words, no help at all without effectively getting rid of jews. if i wanted to be rude about it (which i don’t) i’d compare it to ken livingstone’s preference for dead ethnically-dressed victimised jews over live, articulate, well-armed jews with suntans and american accents. not that i don’t have copious problems with the latter.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    46. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

      Bananabrain, its a slow day and its a bit of fun

      “refresh, i just can’t see what you *do* suggest that would actually work. opposing things is all very well, but what are you actually *for*?”

      You have to tell me what you think is not working?

      “…you fecking feathered eejits.” Not come across that before, what does it mean?

    47. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

      Bananabrain, I know, I have problems myself with, on one hand, my admiration for what Jews have achieved and on the other hand, the fact that their religion is just as vile (to me) as Islam or Christianity.

    48. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

      Jai:

      “With apologies to Rumbold for the threadjack.”

      No worries Jai- you have a wonderful flair for vivid description.

    49. bananabrain — on 14th November, 2007 at 5:21 pm  

      morgoth - well, at least you’re honest about it. i personally don’t see what’s so “vile” about it. well, i wouldn’t, of course. i’m not having a go at atheists or science or anything stupid like that. what you perhaps fail to see is that the reason we have achieved what we have achieved is because of our religion.

      refresh - it’s one of father jack hackett’s more colourful expressions (along with “arsebiscuits!” which should be shouted loudly at bishops). and what is not working is a) US foreign policy and b) UK foreign policy, but i don’t think moaning about how rubbish it was in the past actually helps. we have to start from where we are and it is very, very difficult (as even gandhi admitted) to be non-violent faced with something like hitler, or fanatical jihadi murderers.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    50. Jai — on 14th November, 2007 at 6:18 pm  

      Refresh,

      Not seen that one - but I got the picture. Disturbing.

      Youtube is your friend. Song in full:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srTpevukbtU

      Somewhat cheesy picturisation at the start in typical mid-80s style, but it gets a lot better towards the end; in some ways the latter section was quite ahead of its time in terms of the photography involved etc. Fantastic soundtrack by the late great RD Burman anyway, it’s one of those all-time Bollywood classics.

      Rumbold,

      No worries Jai- you have a wonderful flair for vivid description.

      Wait until you see Morgoth & Refresh (or “Rishi & Dimple” as I like to call them) in that clip above. They’re the hottest “will-they-or-won’t-they” couple since The Scarecrow and Mrs King.

    51. Morgoth — on 14th November, 2007 at 7:25 pm  

      Wait until you see Morgoth & Refresh (or “Rishi & Dimple” as I like to call them) in that clip above. They’re the hottest “will-they-or-won’t-they” couple since The Scarecrow and Mrs King.

      Which one of us is Sid James though?

    52. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 7:45 pm  

      Jai:

      “Wait until you see Morgoth & Refresh (or “Rishi & Dimple” as I like to call them) in that clip above. They’re the hottest “will-they-or-won’t-they” couple since The Scarecrow and Mrs King.”

      But which Pickler completes the love triangle? Will someone fight Morgoth for Refresh’s affections, or will it be the other way around?

    53. sonia — on 14th November, 2007 at 8:34 pm  

      are you nominating yourself for the position rumbold? :-)

    54. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

      Heh- no Sonia, I can’t dance. Maybe you could play Refresh’s love rival?

    55. Rumbold — on 14th November, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

      Oh Morgoth, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi?

    56. sonia — on 14th November, 2007 at 8:57 pm  

      rumbold you are funny

    57. Refresh — on 14th November, 2007 at 9:36 pm  

      He’s all yours Sonia.

    58. The Common Humanist — on 14th November, 2007 at 9:54 pm  

      And here was me thinking there would be a debate about foreign policy here………..

      TCH

    59. Don — on 14th November, 2007 at 10:06 pm  

      Morgoth,

      ‘Because some things ARE black and white.’

      And others aren’t. Rwanda and Srebrenica are good examples of cases where liberal intervention (as good a phrase as any) would have been justified, Sierra Leone and East Timor examples where it was justifiably practiced. I’m sure you can think of others.

      But not Iraq. Intent matters, and I do not accept that the Bush Jr. administration was motivated by compassion for the oppressed people of Iraq and a desire to better their lot. And so their strategy was not directed towards that end, hence the current shambles which, apart from its intrinsic horror, has made real liberal intervention virtually impossible.

      Without the Iraq debacle we might have actually done something effective about Darfur.

      Bush Sr. could have finished Saddam but,to his eternal discredit, he found it expedient to leave the resistance twisting in the wind.

      Bush Jr. could have beaten Saddam’s forces without the Shock and Awe self-indulgent son-et-lumiere of how powerful are we? fear us. He could have made even rudimentary plans to preserve and rebuild the infrastructure, he could have had some kind of agenda beyond ‘what’s in it for me and my cronies’. But he didn’t.

      Finding that appalling does not equate to being content that a dictator should continue in power. It’s just grey.

      For decades I thought I was hardend to he hypocrisy of democracy’s dealings with tyranny, but when Bush and Blair started prating about their humanitarian motives, I almost gagged.

      I don’t doubt your own personal loathing of theocratic homicidal bigots, but there is no such ethical centre to the actual policies being enacted.

    60. douglas clark — on 14th November, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

      I’m glad I checked out this thread before I composed a reply to Morgoth. Morgoth, what Don says is my position too.

    61. bananabrain — on 15th November, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

      and mine, except i would have included iraq - but i’d have done it in 1990, not given saddam another 13 years of murder, rape and torture and the kurds would have got a country, too.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

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