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The left or the right?


by Sunny on 8th August, 2006 at 12:06 pm    

The left isn’t perfect, but it still looks more capable than the right of dealing with religious fanaticism.
My latest article for comment is free.



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52 Comments   |  


  1. Leon — on 8th August, 2006 at 12:13 pm  

    I was thinking over your piece earlier, I know a few rightwingers who have similar views to us on a whole heap of issues so maybe it might be clearer to make distinctions? Like calling the mail etc the reactionary right and people like Iain Dale the reasonable right?

    Just some initial thoughts…

  2. sonia — on 8th August, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

    well i think a lot of people are confused about what’s left and what’s right anyway. and possibly a two-way dichotomy isn’t that useful anyway - remember the four way political compass thingie? that was useful to highlight how some people ( though left defining) were more similar to those who defined themselves as right-wing because they were more authoritarian. after all there are plenty of left-wing authoritarian types just as there are right-wing authoritarian types…

    as an anarchist that’s what interests me..all these authoritarian types around.

    religious ‘fanaticism’ to me is simply one type of authoritarianism - that uses religious beliefs as justification for authority.

  3. j0nz — on 8th August, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    So you basic tenet is, that because “the right” openly criticises Islamic fundementalism, without getting all touchy-feely and “understanding the context”, that it is inherently less capabable to do deal with it?

    Facsism was a a fundamentalist ideolody, with extensive zealotry and bigotry. Does “understanding” the bigots help us to to defeat biggotry?

    The left in 1937 in this country did nothing but capitulate to zealous ideology. I cannot see any change in behavoiur whatsoever. It was “the right” that saw the threat for what it was, and acted up on it.

    How can ‘pacifists’ win a war with those funadamentalists who simply wish to aggressively impose their ‘ideals’?

  4. j0nz — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    Sorry for da spelling errors!

  5. AsifB — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    I guess its not so simple to make a straight left/right split on many issues.

    In the context of religous extremism and racially loaded matters generally though, I think it is relatively easy to tell if someone has a tendancy to stereotype whole groups/the Other in a prejudiced way or not; the way the likes of Rod Liddle and Melanie Phillips talk of Eurabia and rush to highlight the latest Muslim nutter they have discovered, kind of speaks for itself.

    But then you can also get right wingers like the Spectator’s Peter Oborne that are much more thoughtful as this passage from last nights Evening Standard demonstrates:
    “THE story of Navjeet Sidhu, who flung herself under a train at Southall station with her two young children, is a terrible one but I would be very careful before accepting suggestions that her arranged marriage was somehow connected with the terrible depression which caused her to take her own life.

    There are plenty of people in Britain who get married of their own free will and, for whatever reason, get brought low by depressions every bit as devastating as Navjeet Sidhu suffered. In some cases they, too, kill themselves.

    Meanwhile, there are millions of people around the world who enjoy happy and fulfilled lives after an arranged marriage. “

  6. seekeroftruth — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    Just one point. The whole war of USA vs Muslim militants is being dubbed as an ideological war between secular and rational westerners vs irrational and superstitious Muslims. What is hardly being pointed out is that how much the support for big wars against Muslims, Evangelic anti-Muslim bigotry and uncritical support of every Israeli policy is boosted by sections of the Christian fundamentalists who are eagerly waiting for the prophecy of greater Israel, Armageddon and the coming of Christ after which all the ‘believers’ will saved and every one else will perish:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0731-25.htm

    For more details, please see:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0954054466/sr=1-1/qid=1155039805/ref=sr_1_1/026-6386819-5191613?ie=UTF8&s=books

  7. sonia — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

    “n the context of religous extremism and racially loaded matters generally though, I think it is relatively easy to tell if someone has a tendancy to stereotype whole groups/the Other in a prejudiced way or not; the way the likes of Rod Liddle and Melanie Phillips talk of Eurabia and rush to highlight the latest Muslim nutter they have discovered, kind of speaks for itself.”

    yep- good point

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    If I may bastardise the wisdom of the sapient illuminati Jon Bon Jovi: ‘This left doesn’t feel right’

  9. Leon — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    How can ‘pacifists’ win a war with those funadamentalists who simply wish to aggressively impose their ‘ideals’?

    I’m quite insulted, I’ve never been a pacifist!

  10. Leon — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:41 pm  

    Regarding this left/right issue. I agree with Sonia it needs to be broadened out, hence my post about reactionary and reasonable rights. I’ve known libertarian rightwingers who are quite reactionary and some who are down to earth and fairly stable, ahem, reasonable.;)

  11. sonia — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    i don’t really know why there was ever a need for left/right or any kind of such classification.

  12. sonia — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    8. kismet - brilliant!

  13. sonia — on 8th August, 2006 at 1:47 pm  

    but then im an anarchist. i don’t like classifications! if im pushed i generally vaguely refer to my thinking as being anarcho-libertarian.

    but of course that’s interpreted differently by different people. i don’t like to box my ideas/thinking in, generally.

  14. soru — on 8th August, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    ‘Facsism was a a fundamentalist ideolody, with extensive zealotry and bigotry. Does “understanding” the bigots help us to to defeat biggotry?’

    Churchill understood fascism very well, being on the far right of UK politics. Consequently, he correctly understood that, as fascism is a set of beliefs about war, the only way to deal with it was to fight and win a war that would demonstrate those beliefs to be wrong.

    Orwell made the same point:

    ‘War, for all its evil, is at any rate an unanswerable test of strength, like a try-your-grip machine. Great strength returns the penny, and there is no way of faking the result.

    When the nautical screw was first invented, there was a controversy that lasted for years as to whether screw-steamers or paddle-steamers were better. The paddle-steamers, like all obsolete things, had their champions, who supported them by ingenious arguments. Finally, however, a distinguished admiral tied a screw-steamer and a paddle-steamer of equal horsepower stern to stern and set their engines running. That settled the question once and for all. And it was something similar that happened on the fields of Norway and of Flanders. ‘

    In the 1930s, many moral pacifists believed that fascism was inevitable, as organising your country on fascist lines was the most effective way to fight and win wars, and societies that lost wars would soon cease to exist.

    In that sense, those people were believers in fascism, although far from supporters of it.

    Similarly, terrorism is a set of beliefs about the best way to bring about a political goal. These beliefs are held by many people who would never describe themselves as believers in terrorism. That makes them unexamined beliefs, the most dangerous kind.

  15. Arif — on 8th August, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    Sunny, from your article, I would say that what makes you feel more capable of dealing with religious fanaticism may be more to do with:

    a. not stigmatising or glorifying their religion or their culture, and
    b. engaging with their political arguments as political arguments, and dealing with their political movements as you would with other political movements calling for totalitarian solutions.

    I don’t see this as necessarily left or right wing. It isn’t necessarily libertarian or authoritarian. It isn’t necessarily pacifist or militarist.

    It is just being a bit clear and consistent in your thinking.

    After that you and I part company, as you are consistently confrontational, and I try to be more polite. You are quick to smell hidden agendas and condemn special pleading. I have more faith in their sincerity and ability to develop concern for others.

    Are either approach more “left wing” or “right wing”?

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 8th August, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    Islam: neither left nor right but somewhere over the rainbow

  17. Bert Preast — on 8th August, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    Soru: But the islam has whiled away the last couple of centuries for the most part getting seven bells kicked out of it. Yet islam is far from admitting it’s not very good at wars any more. As with all religious arguments, they just move the goalposts et voila.

  18. Steven J — on 8th August, 2006 at 3:44 pm  

    Good news regarding a subject you touched on before. Despite the thuggish tactics of Osama Saeed and other bigoted hooligans and thugs, the Israeli cricket team have been able to play matches at an RAF base in Scotland with a cricket pitch. It is a shame that it came to this, and that thugs and hooligans of the Musliam Association of Britain threatened violence and disrupted the tour, but it is still a victory against their chauvinism, and in the face of such bully boy bigotry, a victory for Scotland and British society over the communalist bigots.

    http://sport.scotsman.com/cricket.cfm?id=1147902006

  19. Bert Preast — on 8th August, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    I’ll take issue with Sunny over the bit in the article where he says the fact that the government mole in Canada turned out to be a hardline muslim.

    Firstly, he earned a rather impressive amount of money for bubbling up his cohorts. I think it was over $300,000. Hardly altruistic stuff.

    Secondly, he might be gagging for Canadistan, but is intelligent enough to realise that the Canucks don’t respond well to threats and blowing them up will not gain their sympathy for the cause. Though my cynical side says that if Canada was say a third sharia muslim he would have been egging them on - once the numbers are behind you, a few beheaded politicos and the country’s all yours. Personally, I’d still see him deported or banged up for spouting off for full on sharia law anyway.

    And thirdly, will he be proved in court to have instigated the whole thing? Proved is too strong a term perhaps, but the defence only need reasonable doubt anyway. I haven’t seen any Canadian muslims supporting him, but I have seen quite a few saying he infiltrated the group in order to provoke them to terrorism.

    Lastly, his statement that “there are no combatants on the streets of downtown Toronto” I find rather disturbing. Combatants, not terrorists, you see?

  20. soru — on 8th August, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    ‘Yet islam is far from admitting it’s not very good at wars any more.’

    The mistake a lot of leftists in 1920s Germany made was to say fascism was just a small variant on capitalism, one small part of a much larger thing, all of which was the enemy.

    The consequence was that the German equivalents of Churchill were, in time, squeezed into the two choices of supporting Hitler, or supporting the Communists who wished to destroy them, and everything they held dear.

    That didn’t work out so well for them. Don’t make the same mistake, by talking about ‘Islam’ when you could say something much more specific, and infinitely more accurate. It was Churchill who was held responsible for the disaster at Gallipoli.

  21. Bert Preast — on 8th August, 2006 at 5:31 pm  

    Soru: The wehrmacht in the 1930s was no hot bed of naziism, and they were the ones who really had the power. The old Prussian gentlemen who ran the outfit, however, were in no way squeezed between commie and nazi with no third road out. Hitler promised vengeance for the 1918 defeat and pulled all the other string he knew would get them onside. They went into it with a choice and with their eyes open.

    The reason this went on to become a world war was their underestimation of the British and the Soviets. They were expecting to regain their lost territories, and with the help of a crystal ball they would have lived with their dented pride, I’m sure.

    Churchill held himself responsible for Gallipoli, and subsequently got himself posted as an infantryman to the western front. Basically, he tried to get himself killed to repent. That’s the sort of politician we seem to be conspicuously lacking in today’s world.

    When I said islam, what do you mean I should be more specific?

  22. j0nz — on 8th August, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    Steven J thanks that - I didn’t know that sh!t was going down!

  23. Arif — on 8th August, 2006 at 6:42 pm  

    Bert, I think you should be more specific. Islam as a faith or a way of life or an attitude to God doesn’t do things like admit or deny being good at wars. It is people who make assertions or deny things. So which people are you talking about?

    I assume you do not think that all people who consider themselves to be Muslim get their kicks from being good at war, or from denying they are bad at war. Who are you really talking about?

  24. Amir — on 8th August, 2006 at 7:12 pm  

    Sunny,

    ‘The left isn’t perfect,’

    I know. So here’s your salvation…

  25. Amir — on 8th August, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    Go on, swallow it!!

    Maybe then you’ll stop wearing that crumpled Che Guevara T-Shirt? :-)

  26. Sunny — on 8th August, 2006 at 9:59 pm  

    Steven J - I realised they played later on but didn’t know it was at an army base. What stupidity! Thanks for letting me know…

    I don’t think he realises the implication of the “security precautions”.

    What is hardly being pointed out is that how much the support for big wars against Muslims, Evangelic anti-Muslim bigotry and uncritical support of every Israeli policy is boosted by sections of the Christian fundamentalists who are eagerly waiting for the prophecy of greater Israel, Armageddon and the coming of Christ after which all the ‘believers’ will saved and every one else will perish:

    Seekeroftruth - I believe the video that Al-Hack posted earlier this week alluded to this.

    I agree there isn’t a straightforward left/right separation on this. There are problems in both camps but I think when it comes to the right their problem is seeing Muslims only as Muslims rather than being influenced by other factors. That fits into their narrative quite well.

  27. Bert Preast — on 8th August, 2006 at 10:09 pm  

    Arif: I’d say most islamist insurgents these days are bouyed up by the belief that god is with them. That’s what all the martyr stuff is about. They believe that they cannot be defeated. They might even be right.

    I’m talking about islamist groups such as Hisbollah and Hamas. And they undoubtedly enjoy the support of muslims worldwide, whatever depths they sink to. Most unlike Israel and the west - which is the concerning bit.

  28. Sunny — on 8th August, 2006 at 11:09 pm  

    If you want to defeat your enemy Bert, get to know them first. Sadly your analysis is typical, very lazy and uninformed.

  29. Sid — on 8th August, 2006 at 11:24 pm  

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is the Left that you are comfortable with? Which schism of the fragment of the division are you at? The pro-war left project seems to have run its course.

  30. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 12:33 am  

    Sunny, I got to know my enemy in 1992, and they seemed to me a decent bunch of blokes. I was right with them in those days, but then in those days if islamists arrived they tended to get murdered.

    Some terrible things have happened to polarise the world since then, and I doubt that decent bunch of blokes are my allies anymore. I have wondered why, which has led me to learn Arabic. Well, led me to try. I failed dismally. Undeterred, I read the quran translated by shakir.

    It wasn’t really very reassuring. Nor was much else that I read. I hear you say that islam is not a problem - but the figures prove that’s rather wishful thinking. I understand you are an Indian hindu? I can understand your feelings - one of the things that worries me most is that if I express islamophobia I’m called a racist, and I’m well aware that many islamophobes are lazy and uninformed, and tend to lump anyone not black, white or chinese as a muslim. Hell, even the mainstream media today refer to Asians, which cannot be much fun for hindus, buddists and sikhs.

    But I’m not quite that lazy and uninformed. I’m also an immigrant myself, with a foreign wife. I like multiculture, but I see islam as a danger to that. Islam, not muslims. Though of course that means quite a large number of muslims, too.

  31. Amir — on 9th August, 2006 at 2:22 am  

    Sunny,

    I agree there isn’t a straightforward left/right separation on this. There are problems in both camps but I think when it comes to the right their problem is seeing Muslims only as Muslims rather than being influenced by other factors. That fits into their narrative quite well.

    You know absolutely nothing about the Islamic faith or the power it exudes over Moslems. You’re completely out-of-touch with the ways in which a religion can influence a person’s behaviour, especially when it is combined with politics. Out of fear of adding fuel to religious wars, commentators are refraining from mentioning negative features of religion (or, more specifically, ‘religious interpretations’), singling out only the positive ones as if there is no connection between a religion and the fundamentalism it produced.

    The effect of this tendency, however, is to denature what one is looking at. Some of the worst terrorist attacks in recent years have been religious in character. These include: the July 1994 suicide bomb truck attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the March 1995 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway perpetrated by a Japanese cult, the Aum Shinrikyo; the series of indiscriminate bombings that rocked France between July and October 1995 and again in December 1996; the assassination in November 1995 of Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin in Israel; the bombings of a joint Saudi-American military training center in Riyadh in November 1995 and of a U.S. Air Force barracks in Dhahran the following June; the attack on Western tourists in Luxor in November 1997; the bloody succession of bloody suicide bombings carried out by Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad since 1994; and the al-Qaeda attacks in recent years on the two U.S. embassies in East Africa, the U.S.S. Cole in Aden harbour, and of course the September 11th attacks. And so on. Yes: I could go on.

    More disturbing is that in some instances the perpetrators’ aims go beyond the establishment of some theocracy amenable to their specific deity, but have embraced mystical, almost transcendental, and divinely inspired imperatives. (For example: The Aum Shinrikyo’s nerve-gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in March 1995 as part to overthrow the Japanese government and establish a new Japanese state based on the worship of the group’s founder and Shokho Ashara.) Religion, in this context, functions as a legitimizing force: specifically sanctioning wide scale violence against an almost open-ended category of opponents (Jews, Christians, Hindus, etc.). This explains why clerical sanction is so important for religious terrorists and why religious figures are often required to ‘bless’ (e.g., approve) terrorist operations before they are executed.

    Religion plays an active role in creating and changing perceptions, cognition and emotions. It moulds how we see the world; it is the main determinant of our perceptions and our access to concrete reality. From knowing the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘sin’ and ‘solitude’, to knowing what to do with out lives, religion shapes our understanding of the world around us. More than affecting perceptions, religion also structures cognition – it affects the way we think, and particularly how we make strategic choices. By using a restricted set of words and word formations, some choices can appear perfectly reasonable and commonsensical while others appear absurd. Expressed another way, the faith we adhere to privileges one viewpoint over others, naturalising some understandings as rational and others as nonsensical. As a consequence, religion also affects our emotions. It is in an important sense, the place where our psychic and social lives intersect. Certain beliefs or combinations of beliefs can make us feel anxious, fearful, angry or joyful. This generates immense power for those that deploy them.

    Yeah, but,… of course… religion has nothing to do with it?!

    Amir

  32. Sunny — on 9th August, 2006 at 3:33 am  

    Bert, you say: I can understand your feelings - one of the things that worries me most is that if I express islamophobia I’m called a racist, and I’m well aware that many islamophobes are lazy and uninformed, and tend to lump anyone not black, white or chinese as a muslim

    To me, racism, like any form of bigotry (based on religion, country whatever) is irrational. It’s illogical there I cannot really harbour hatred on those terms. To be honest a lot of generalisation you make on here I also find quite uninformed but if you’ve come here to learn and understand then we can get to a middle ground. I’m also always open to learning and understanding.

    My feeling that all this hatred is illogical comes from the quite sensible (I think) hypothesis that you put people in certain situations, regardless of their religion, they weill behave the same. I’ve faced enough bigotry from Sikhs and Hindus to realise this isn’t a Muslim problem alone.
    No I’m not technically a Hindu, my parents are Sikh. And given that the founder of Sikhism, the infinitely more learned and wiser than I Guru Nanak Dev Ji also appreciated bits of Islam (and all other religions) and did not see it as a threat to “our way of life”, I go along with his take on theology.

  33. Sunny — on 9th August, 2006 at 4:21 am  

    More responses (sorry, been out most of the day)

    Leon: Like calling the mail etc the reactionary right and people like Iain Dale the reasonable right?
    Agreed, but I’m talking here specifically in the context of dealing with religious fanaticism.

    Sonia: religious ‘fanaticism’ to me is simply one type of authoritarianism - that uses religious beliefs as justification for authority.
    And that’s why you’re part of the family! Agreed.

    j0nz: Facsism was a a fundamentalist ideolody, with extensive zealotry and bigotry. Does “understanding” the bigots help us to to defeat biggotry?

    j0nz, my point is merely that not all fantics or bigots behave in exactly the same way or have similar goals.

    For exampple, I’d go and meet to Nick Griffin (despite the obvious) but I wouldn’t go to a Combat18 meetup. The former are racists in suits with images to protect.

    Similarly to conflate Hizbullah with Al-Qaeda, without recognising the latter mostly regard Hizbullah as heretics is, well, ignorant.

    Arif: I don’t see this as necessarily left or right wing. It isn’t necessarily libertarian or authoritarian. It isn’t necessarily pacifist or militarist.

    It is just being a bit clear and consistent in your thinking.

    After that you and I part company, as you are consistently confrontational, and I try to be more polite. You are quick to smell hidden agendas and condemn special pleading. I have more faith in their sincerity and ability to develop concern for others.

    Yes, you’re right in that this isn’t necessarily a left or a right thing. My point was that given their track record and the way they have carried the conversation so far, the left (and I don’t mean the SWP crew) are far better informed than the right. Generally.

    In the latter bit, yes. I agree I’m more confrontational and quick to smell agendas. After dealing with them for so long you develop cynicism.

  34. Vikrant — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:20 am  

    Maybe then you’ll stop wearing that crumpled Che Guevara T-Shirt?

    Lol back in february Sunny did mention that wears a “Pinko and proud of it” T-Shirts…

    Modern left everywhere in the world is fuelled by self-hatred of their own cultures… be its the pinkos of Galloway ilk or his Indian counterparts Mulayam Yadav,Karat and Co.. The lefties are so blinded by their hatred of US and Israel that they tend to align themselves with Islamist aspirations.

    Indian lefties for one go overboard in their anti-Israel stance in the parliament while at same time bending backwards towards Pakistan. Indian die while their spineless sellouts talk peace with their killers. Indian lefties (as with other lefties in the world) sure do know how to turn the other cheek.

  35. Roger — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:10 am  

    All this shows is that the terms left and right are meaningless. There are too many factors to allow for simplifications like that. Many people call themselves left or right without considering what the definition means or how they would define their own opinions.
    As for islam, it’s easy to argue that it’s “naturally” left or right- and that’s leaving aside the probably dissident/heretical actual opinions of actual muslims. The problem with islam as a body of thought is that it is authoritarian and hierarchical and paternalistic, encouraging moral abslotism and intolerance- but you can find allegedly left or right political outlooks with exactly the same qualities without their claiming to be a religion.

  36. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:21 am  

    Sunny, Most phobias are illogical. People are scared of spiders and snakes even when they are in countries with no venomous spiders and snakes. They are afraid of appearances or ideas, and the objects of their fears are also it’s innocent victims.

    However, backing slowly away from some 8 legged tennis ball sized monster you find in an Australian bog cannot be said to be illogical. The danger’s real enough, as anyone who’s been bitten can confirm.

    Yes, I’m here to learn and understand. I’m not an educated man, but since getting on the net I’ve managed to bluff quite a few people that I am. I quite like this, so now I have to keep reading to keep bluffing. I got here having been interested by one of your CiF pieces, and I liked the look of the crowd. Not too many, not too few, and with views from right across the spectrum and enough humour too keep the rage at bay. Places like this are good places to get learning and understanding.

    I’ve floated round some of the anti-jihad sites and found I was, I think, too wet for them. Some of the comments people make in those places worry me more than islam does. They have a solution alright, but not one I find either paletable or necessary. So I come looking for sites where people have other ideas and solutions, and where they’re not naiive enough to think that once the jihad problem is sorted the world will be all peace and harmony. It won’t. In most areas where islam is a problem, it’s not the only problem.

  37. Leon — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    The pro-war left project seems to have run its course.

    Good link, missed that. It’s no surprise though, Euston was doomed to fail from the outset for a number of factors beyond the political inchorency…

  38. sonia — on 9th August, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    “You know absolutely nothing about the Islamic faith or the power it exudes over Moslems”

    oh yeah? well in my opinion he knows far more than a lot of stupid people around.

    don’t flatter yourself you know so much either.

  39. sonia — on 9th August, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    “Modern left everywhere in the world is fuelled by self-hatred of their own cultures…”

    don’t know where you get that idea from. oh hang on- let me think - it sounds like a bit of a grand narrative to me. if ‘they’ hate something so much maybe it’s cos this so called ‘own culture’ wasn’t in fact their ‘own culture’ but something someone ELSE attributed to them thinking they ought to be in some group not the other.

    oh look, we’re back to the tyranny of ‘groups’ over individuals..

  40. leon — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    Looks like some in the Tory party having reading PP!

    Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has written for this week’s Spectator (not yet online) and urged the Conservative Party to split with Tony Blair on three foreign policy fronts:

    1. “There must be a clear recognition that the invasion of Iraq was a serious mistake that has helped the terrorists. It has also made Iran the power in the Gulf. While the government may be in denial, there is no need for the Conservative party to be. That does not mean, however, that British troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. It is essential that they remain there as long as their presence might help the Iraqis.”
    2. “Conservatives should not accept Blair’s simplistic belief that all Muslim terrorism is part of a single plot. Conservatives are rightly suspicious of a Manichaean division of the world into good and bad; terrorist and freedom-loving. The war in Chechnya, for example, is between Chechen nationalists and Russian nationalists, not between terror and freedom. The same applies to Kashmir. The Israeli–Palestinian issue is also much more than a battle against Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism.”
    3. “Conservatives should reject a philosophy of pre-emptive wars (or, as Blair prefers to call it, liberal interventionism) fought by ‘coalitions of the willing’.”

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2006/08/rifkind_urges_e.html

  41. Kismet Hardy — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

    Oh the irony. I remember when the first Gulf war happenned and buying into the bleating that it wouldna happenned if Labour waz in power

  42. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:23 pm  

    Leon - point 2: It would be simplistic indeed to talk of a single plot. But to say it’s all nationist conflict is just ridiculous. I see too many Pakistanis and Indonesians chanting for Hisbollah and Hamas for that theory to hold water.

    There are a number of conflicts going on, some of which such as Chechnya are attracting support from all over the muslim world, and some such as Darfour which aren’t.

    The major differentiating factor seems to be who is winning.

  43. leon — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    Bert, I aint saying his understanding is perfect but it is significant to have such a senior Tory essentially trying to prise itself away from the Neo Con/Bliarite worldview.

    As I said over at Conservative Home it should be interesting to see how the pro war lot react to this (also whether this is a ‘testing the water’ tactic for Cameron’s leadership)…

  44. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:39 pm  

    It would be interesting to have an opposition again that are actually in opposition, I admit.

  45. leon — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    Indeed.

  46. Chairwoman — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    Apart from Harold Wilson, who refused to send British soldiers to Vietnam, every Prime Minister we’ve had since WW2 has followed US foreign policy.

    Spitting Image best summed it up when it had the Reagan puppet say of the Thatcher puppet ‘Damn fine woman, pity it’s only her country I’m screwing’.

  47. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:52 pm  

    Um, Eden and Suez?

    Thatcher and the Flaklands, even?

  48. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    Falklands, even even.

    bugger

  49. Kismet Hardy — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    Falking hell

  50. Chairwoman — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:21 pm  

    Eden bowed to US pressure during the Suez crisis. Thatcher had tacit American support for her actions.

  51. Sunny — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:40 pm  

    Very interesting Leon… very interesting.

  52. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    Chairwoman: Both instigated military actions very much without the will or consent of the US, which I believe was the point.

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