Tuesday, 22 February 2011

ETHICAL FOREIGN POLICY?


David Cameron has said that the West has been wrong to support dictators in the Middle East. In a speech to the Kuwaiti national assembly Cameron said that Britain would back democracy campaigners now seeking greater rights across the Middle East.

He said that in the past Britain’s foreign policy has been dictated by it economic interests and that has stopped them pushing for and promoting Western democratic values.

He felt it was wrong that Britain supported Mr Mubarak and that, under Labour, had fostered relations with Col Gaddafi in Libya. He pointed out that two Labour Prime Ministers had met Gaddafi to promote British interests in their large and lucrative oil economy, paving the way for 150 British businesses to work there. Well, the Tories would never have done anything like that, would they?

He said that British interests were best served by upholding British values; freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to use internet and in the rule of law. Hmmm right, we shall see when the riots begin in England, just how we practise what we preach.

Now this all sounds to me like we are going to have an ethical foreign policy again, just like we did for the first couple of weeks of Labour’s government in 1997. It soon fell by the wayside as the need for arms sales to keep the economy afloat reared its ugly head, and then the need to follow George W Bush to hell and back in the most unethical of wars became central to Tony Blair’s plans to be a leading world figure, if only in the shadow of the great Dubya (as the junior partner of the special relationship).

You see, I can’t much remember there being any Conservative objection to our relationship with Egypt (witness the picture at the top of the page). America was Egypt’s friend; Britain could hardly be otherwise. And America decided to allow Gaddafi back into the international community after he denounced terrorism. Pour encourager les autres, as it were. Iraq wouldn’t get rid of its (non existent) WMDs, so it got war. Libya denounced terror, so it got trade. What was Britain going to do? What indeed would the Tories have done?

So speaking in a country with only limited democracy, he was good enough to tell them that he respected their right to take their own decisions.

At a press conference later, Mr Cameron was asked if his pro-reform message applied to Saudi Arabia, but he declined to answer. Hmmmm, yes, well we certainly wouldn’t want to upset Saudi Arabia, a country where you can be flogged on the street for failing to take part in prayers, and where most of the government is made up of the king’s relatives. The trouble is that they have vast oil reserves and that they spend billions every year on British arms. And, after all, Mr Cameron’s tour entourage does include several defence industry executives.

So limited ethical foreign policy then Dave?


Some magical double acts! (1) Margaret Thatcher doing business with Hosni Mubarak: (2) Mad Gaddafi and Mad Brown making business happen: (3) Moving in for the kiss... Tony and Muammar, sweet: (4) Davie boy, all alone and very moral. Creitable, but a difficult position to keep up, specially when Saudi Arabia is not going to bend for the UK.

34 comments:

  1. Why don't you supply sick bags?
    Rule Britannia
    Britannia screws you all
    Rule Britannia
    Britannia has no ball
    Rule Britannia
    Westminster will screw you all.

    America tearing in two and systemic bank fraud

    ReplyDelete
  2. What on earth is going on with Cameron these days. The riots will come because people are sick of working half their lives to pay taxes. The only thing which has deterred unrest is the low mortgage rate at present. When that rises and is added to all the other rises in the cost of basic living, it will be too much for many.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can sell you a sick bag CH... Big Society Privatised!! That is to say that I feel charitable towards you but I need to make money at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Morning Subrosa.

    Cameron should be at home in England, sorting out the mess from here never mind travelling the world like a senior statesman, which he is not lecturing the others about what Britain will or would do. No one is much interested.
    The most significant thing is that he has taken arms salesmen with him. If one bullet is used to quell riots Cameron will look very stupid.

    When I say mess, I’m talking about the situation in Libya with regard to the UK citizens who are there.

    I understand that the FCO is "trying to charter a plane to get people out of Libya". I know this because there was a man on the phone to the Today programme this morning pointing out that he and 90 + other British nationals are stuck in a camp with enough food for one day left and all their emails to the British Embassy have gone unanswered. So that made the FCO sit up and take notice and they gave this pathetic announcement.

    Erm, "trying to charter a plane".... WHAT?

    Do we not pay for an air force?

    Are there not Queen's flight jets?

    Or troop carriers?

    What is Hague playing at?

    I suspect that petrol will soon soar in price, which will take all other prices up and everyone will get poorer and poorer. In the meantime people like the top bankers with £9 million bonus will hardly notice as petrol tops £1.50 a litre and the weekly shop goes up by another tenner.

    It seems the only thing that will get governments off their lazy and complacent backsides is a spot of rioting. I wonder how Cameron will deal with that!

    ReplyDelete
  5. "call me" loves to do a bit of grandstanding! Witness him off to congratulate field marshal whatsisname now in charge in Egypt, before any movement at all toward democracy. What if the good field marshal decides that he likes to be in charge and rigs any so called elections? Seems that the UK have recognised him already, so whatever he does will have an element (a small one I grant) of legitimacy!

    Kuwait is hardly a bastion of liberal democracy as two thirds of the population of the country don’t hold Kuwaiti citizenship and can’t vote and women were only allowed the vote in 2005. In addition the Emir can suspend the National Assembly anytime he likes, like he did from 1976-1981 and from 1986-1991. But I guess any “democracy” with an unelected head of state and an unelected upper house can hardly complain!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well Munguin, that is the problem.

    An hereditary head of state; an upper house of hereditary and appointed aristocracy together with clerical representatives of the state sponsored branch of Christianity, (with the unelected monarch as its head), a lower house of first past the post elected representatives a fair proportion of which are seats for life, which delivers (as a rule) large majorities based on small percentages of votes, and a whipping system which effectively means that the prime minister of the day is an elected dictator... and we go around preaching democracy...

    To quote a well known PR man: “It makes me physically sick”.

    ReplyDelete
  7. At the time when Robin Cook was proclaiming his "ethical foreign policy" I was supporting a charity called IranAid which provided safe houses and education for the children of people executed and oppressed by the Ayatollahs as "Infidels". Under Islamic law (at any rate, the Iranian version) these children too were regarded as "infidels". Many were brought out by a sort of "underground railway" .

    Under pressure from Iran (which was also then favoured by the EU Common Foreign Policy) Robin Cook got the Charities Commission to appoint a receiver to take over the charity, alleging accountancy irregularities. This was the second attempt. A previous audit (provoked by allegations from known Iranian agents) had given IranAid a clean bill of health.

    Because of the clandestine nature of its work, it was not possible to provide an audit trail for the spending of the money in Iran. Anyone caught associating with it there could literally lose an arm and a leg! The British-appointed receiver then proposed to appoint an Iranian receiver, an accountant of the Iran Price Waterhouse subsidiary WHO WAS A FORMER IRANIAN ISLAMIC GOVERNMENT MINISTER. It was literally like appointing an SS officer to supervise the affairs of a Jewish charity! Cook may have believed he was being "ethical" but that was the effect of his policy.

    Iranian grannies and other supporters occupied the London headquarters of the charity to prevent the personal records falling into the receiver's hands. They were there for many months. Christopher Booker covered the story in his Sunday Telegraph column.

    Most governments are rather nasty. Rotten as it is, ours is relatively benign in world terms. It has to deal in the real world with all sorts of regimes which are really nasty. If HMG only talked to nice governments, we would probably run extremely short of all sorts of necessities very quickly and find our remaining factories very short of export orders.

    As for being "democratic" - well, a lynch mob proceeds by majority decision and is highly democratic in that respect. In many Muslim countries there is a small, corrupt, Western-oriented upper crust (as there was in Iran). Kick them out of the way and there is a huge mass of poor, uneducated people who are under the thumbs of the mullahs, imams and ayatollahs for whom the idea of democracy (as in the West) is highly repugnant - but they know how to get the vote out. SO you may get "One man, one vote" but only once to signify- as happened in so much of immediately post colonial Africa too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love it “call me” clearly does not understand how ridiculous his vision sounds when he trumpets on. For example he said:

    “...denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse...”

    Eh, it did in Egypt for thirty years Mr Cameron and in Libya for over forty...but now the road to Damascus means he needs an “ethical” foreign policy to suit the situation! Such a shame he had all those arms dealers in tow foaming at the mouth to sell some “ethical” cluster bombs and water cannons! Also such a shame that the New Foreign Policy® does not include any criticism of the worlds largest supplier of oil and arch-deniers of anything democratic, liberal or human rightsish!

    So yet again “call me” spouts a whole pile of tripe intended to sound good and make him look like an international statesman, but so full of holes that it fails even the most cursory of examinations. He must think everybody in the whole world zips up the back if he thinks they will take that crap at face value. Sheesh........and that is the benefits of s first class Oxbridge education?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yep, a load of good sense there Mr S.

    There is nothing moralistic about government. They seem to start off bent, and get more bent as they go on.

    What irritates me is all the bloody claptrap they talk. Shared values, the will of the people, blah blah. I could write the rubbish and I don't believe a word of it. Nether of course do they.

    It would be better to be honest and stop treating us all like morons.

    We sell guns to repulsive regimes because we make money out of it. We only care when people are being killed if there is a good speech in it: a chance to strut around looking and sounding Churchillian.

    It doesn’t matter a stuff whether the government is Tory or Labour, (and now Liberal). They are all the same. It’s all talk, and it’s all about them being important and earning their place in history. And because we are programmed, in this country at least, to treat these people like they were some sort of gods, Sir this, Minister that, Excellency the next thing, they actually believe that we have some sort of respect for them, and that we like them.

    They are mostly hateful, and pretty much most of them disgusting. Furthermore, they are more or less all second rate in the extreme, and the ones that aren’t, are third rate. Even the ones who share one’s political views are by and large crap.

    Never mind the strutting Dave. Sort out the sodding pot holes.

    I know it’s not as glamorous as walking down a red carpet practising all the things you learned at school and then lecturing these foreigners on human rights, which you would dearly love to get rid of here.

    But at the moment garages are full of cars whose owners have paid over the top for them (compared with other countries, we still have rip off Britain). We have the second highest cost petrol in the world (after Uruguay) most of which is tax, and we have massive road tax bills. And the reason all these garages are full is that there are pot holes all over our roads, and that causes damage to tyres, wheels and springs, not to mention accidents Dave, sort that out.

    I agree with you about the deomcracy too Mr S. Democracy is something that those in power never really want much of. We all have different ways of shunting sideways into the long grass. Sometimes it is after the fashion of Gaddafi; sometimes the UK. In either case, none of us has much say.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Aye Munguin. I'm glad I never had these benefits if that's how stupid it makes you look.

    Like my dad used to say... I'm glad I went to an approved school!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can you do me a favour ? Please be to Allah ( pbuh) but I'm a bit busy freeing my country from foreign agents and zionists so could you tell Lord Mandelson, my friend and ally, that I won't make it to this years shooting party at Mr Rothschilds estate in Berkshire. I've got an even better shooting party to go to !

    ReplyDelete
  12. Saif... I'm pretty busy being angry, so why don't you email your other friend Randy Andy Pandy, and tell him. Maybe in between making dosh out of his royal status, such as it is, he could be in touch with Mr M...

    Won't take long, just say:

    Randy Andy Pandy call Mandy

    ReplyDelete
  13. Monty the real poetFebruary 23, 2011 1:03 pm

    " Randy Andy Pandy call Mandy"

    First cynical the teuchter and now you. Both trying to steal my thunder as the true 'poet in residence'.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ooooops sorry Monty... That wasn't really a poem, more a rhyme.

    We'll have a proper poem from you on the subject, OK?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Monty the real poetFebruary 23, 2011 3:20 pm

    Well ok. But I've been doing sonnets this week as it happens and will go and get my quill.

    ReplyDelete
  16. " So limited ethical foreign policy then Dave?"

    Very limited. He sold them sniper rifles just the other day..

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23925936-britain-sold-sniper-rifles-to-gaddafi-just-before-his-troops-began-killing.do

    ReplyDelete
  17. Gods, armchair bloody critics you lot! The guy has had the balls that no PM since Wilson has done - torn up the Washington agreed foreign policy agenda in the near east; he has reversed our policy away from realised, neocon to ethical; you'd think you'd all have at least tad of decency t stop playing you usual politial games...shame on the lot.

    ReplyDelete
  18. #that shoul be 'realist', not realised lol

    ReplyDelete
  19. tris

    me nephew recently came home from Afghanistan on leave to see his family(wife and two children) It took five days british six troop carriers had faults and were unable to be used.The Americans gave the troops a lift so they went from one nation to another and eventually ended up in cyprus..

    still no British forces flights available so they all went home on a budget plane carrier five days later
    when they went back to Afghanistan took day and half.

    The tale is longer in the telling and the MOD are a bunch of tossers but it would take to long.

    ReplyDelete
  20. must laugh DEANO (The English Tory arse kissing Troll)

    Talks about ethics and values for a party bereft of either they give not a toss for the ordinary person.
    They have imposed an economic war on the British people declaring their intention to cause as many
    casualty's to the public service employees as possible.
    They have voted themselves a five year term of office(we do not know if they will try to extend that term).

    Both not winning any election have cobbled together a unelected oligarchy with no mandate
    they have refused to call a obligatory election immediately to ask the british people in a democratic vote to show if they support their policy.

    They have closed hospitals sacked nurses police officers social workers etc the length and breadth of the uk.

    and the talk about values.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dean if it is so ethical why does he refrain from criticising the Saudis? Something to do with all that oil they have and what a good customer of BAE systems they are? Or is it their exemplary record on democracy and human rights that means they don’t need a lecture on the British way of doing things? The man is a shallow, grandstanding hypocrite pure and simple!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yep Johnnyseven, I might have known the Brits would be selling weapons to the tyrant.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dean what a gift you have for hyperbole, just like your dear leader and his oafish, lumpen spin boys! However high falutin words with no substance are just so much hot air. Nothing has been torn up yet, and “call me” or his cronies announcing it does not make it so. They are rather keen on U-turns, in fact its the only thing they are good at.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What's he torn up Dean?

    If he's not singing exactly the tune that Obama is playing he'll live to regret it. Could this be his get back at the America for Obama’s dalliance with France?

    I just don’t believe the ethics. It never works. He’s not getting all ethical with China, or Saudi.

    ReplyDelete
  25. High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton of £320k trousered.February 23, 2011 7:10 pm

    If Mr Gaddafi keeps being naughty then I will get frightfully cross and may consider suspending his application to join the 'friends of the European Union'.
    We will continue to fund his resettlement programme for infertile gay and transgender goats for now but this is his 2nd last warning.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I see, CH, that the Telegraph has taken the first story down... I wonder why!

    The second one is true. For all they are a bunch of no hopers the Labour lot look lacklustre by compaison.

    ReplyDelete
  27. It makes you want to cry Niko.

    It's like some poor old has been footballer trying to score a goal when he can barely walk across the pitch.

    How pathetic.

    I see that virtually everyone else has evacuated their people from Libya, and the UK government is still doing its best to find the very cheapest plane to charter. From what I heard at 6 o'clock it was so cheap that the plane was unable to take off because of technical faults.


    It's high time that the British government stopped tryingto play with the big boys. These days they should learn to play with the little guys. Maybe that way we would get something done about the pot holes and the pensions, the tax office and poverty.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Be fair Niko. Most of what they are doing in their devastation has been done in England. There are not such dramatic cuts in Scotland.

    ReplyDelete
  29. ha ha your baronessness.....

    ReplyDelete
  30. The Torygraph have pulled a few pages lately tris and they are going behind a paywall later in the year so we will have to see how long that lasts.

    ps. send my ahem fee to Monty 'Munguin's Makar'.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It might actually be worth seeing what happens if at one of these painfully engineered meetings a 'world leader' (in what exactly I don't know, corrupt and backstabbing one supposes) would refuse to shake the blood covered hands of one of these disgusting people. I know it might come off as slightly hypocritical, what with our own government's support for State terrorism both within and without our borders, but really wouldn't it be refreshing to see one of these smug patriarchs embarrassed in such a way?
    Regarding Dean's comments, he does make a somewhat fair assertion in that Cameron is at least making an overture towards ethical politics, but we know it'll never be more than that. Walk the walk, but let us talk the talk is as it goes, and we should ourselves at least make the effort to avoid whatever comes in trade from these blood stained nations.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Laz: I dearly wish that we would have an ethical foreign policy. But it is a naive wish. For us to be ethical it would require everyone else to do it too.

    I rather think that when Robin Cook made his speech about that subject on taking up his role as FCS, he was disabused of the notion pretty rapidly by the premanent secretary when he got back to his office.

    It is painfully obvious that Cameron is grandstanding; talking about democracy and ethical government in a barely democratic state, accompanied by weapons salesmen...

    It doesn't work for me

    ReplyDelete