Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gordon Brown's "hard headed" internationalism

Gordon Brown's speech at the Lord Mayor of London's banquet yesterday was about foreign policy. The Times reports the highlights were:
  • Giving Iran a clear choice, stop pursuing its nuclear programme without IAEA inspections and stop supporting terrorism, and transform its relationship with the world, or face tougher sanctions, including bans on investment in its energy sector and financial sanctions. He will lead for tougher EU and UN sanctions. (not quite military action, but he didn't rule it out);
  • The USA is the UK's most important bilateral relationship "I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere" he said (good!);
  • Urged President Musharraf of Pakistan to respect the constitution, free political prisoners and step down as army chief (good);
  • Proposed an international standby civilian intervention force, of police and judges to restore civil law and order in failed states (good luck on that one!).

He also wants to reform the UN Security Council, which of course is a perennial, but which nobody can ever agree on. So what does this all mean? A clear message that there is business as usual from the UK as regards terrorism, Iran and the USA. However, a call for an international civilian intervention force is an interesting one - and where would you stop!! Imagine being a cop in Iraq, you better be fluent in Arabic for starters, but while perhaps laudable it is - in fact, a form of temporary colonisation. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and would be useful for Iraq, but where else? Are British taxpayers and soldiers going to be mercenaries to save states all over the place?

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