Speaking in Islamabad, David Cameron will today outline five steps for dealing with modern foreign policy threats. In his speech, he also discusses Pakistan and Russia at length, calling on Pakistan to bear down on extremists, and on Europe to work out an agreed approach to Russian aggression.
A liberal conservative foreign policy: “My starting point is the philosophy that I believe in, the philosophy that I would apply to international affairs if elected. I am a liberal Conservative. Liberal – because I believe in freedom, human rights and democracy, and I want to see more of these things in our world. But Conservative, because I believe strongly in the continued relevance of the nation state and because I am sceptical of grand utopian schemes to re-make the world according to a politician’s timetable. My instinct is to work patiently with the grain of human nature; with the flow of culture, tradition and history."
Modern challenges: "Robert Kagan and others argue that the rise of China, and the resurgence of Russia, call into question the assumption that the growth of economic liberty would eventually lead to a global embrace of liberal political values. The rise of these autocracies, some believe, offers an alternative political model rising living standards in a framework of order, unencumbered by the chaotic inefficiencies of Western democracy.
“At the same time, the Western democracies have faced problems of their own. The experience of trying to build democracies in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and the way in which Western democracies have conducted some aspects of the fight against terrorism have undermined our standing in the world.
“So faced with these challenges, what is the liberal Conservative response? I believe there should be five essential steps to our response.
“First, we must hold fast to our values. Second, the democracies must stick together. Third, we need to understand the full nature of the threats that face us. Fourth, we must display stamina and patience. And finally we must always strive to act with moral authority.
Holding fast to our values: "Holding fast to the basic idea - not losing confidence in freedom, human rights and democracy. That is the liberal part of liberal Conservatism, and we should welcome the opportunity to make the case for the open and plural society once again. But we should also remember the Conservative part. We should accept that we cannot impose democracy at the barrel of a gun; that we cannot drop democracy from 10,000 feet – and we shouldn’t try.
“Put crudely, that was what was wrong with the ‘neo-con’ approach, and why I am a liberal Conservative, not a neo – Conservative."
Democracies must stick together: "They are stronger when they stand together... As a country that has recently reasserted its democracy, you understand that very well. The importance of standing together is one reason why I felt so strongly about what has happened many miles away from here in the Caucasus and why I felt it was important to go to Tbilisi and underline my support for Georgia at this decisive moment in its history."
Understanding the threats we face: "Today none is greater than that posed by terrorism. We can see that clearly in both Britain and Pakistan.
“Pakistan has suffered terribly at the hands of terrorism. 56 suicide bombs in 2007, over 640 dead and injured. It is an appalling – and rising – toll of misery. In Britain, we have had our own attacks, and many more attempted attacks which have been thwarted – some thanks to co-operation with Pakistan, for which we are grateful.
“Let’s be clear that the threat we face – principally from Al Qaeda and its affiliates - remains a formidable danger to your society and to mine.
"... The longer the Taliban can operate with relative freedom in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, the more they will threaten not just the future of Afghanistan but the future – some would say the survival – of Pakistan itself.
“Forgive my candour. But it is the candour of a friend. The truth is that we will only tackle this scourge successfully if we work together.