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« Why did people vote the way they did? | Main | Editorial: Easterhouse and Soho Conservatism »

Comments

Andrew

>Do you think he might mean the elected >government in Kabul rather than General >Dostun?

The "government" in Kabul has zero power outside Kabul, that's precisely the problem. It's not a case of facing down warlords opposing the state - the warlords have been given carte blanche to actually be the government in their respective areas.

>The Bush administration doesn't have >responsibility for this Afghanistan, it's >Britain who took on that job alone.

Almost all the troops and air power are American, and that's all that counts.

>And the US has had success in Latin >America, in providing alternative cash >crops for farmers to lead them away from >drugs.

Urrm, no. Cocaine production is at a record level. All that's happened is that production has decentralised, and partly shifted to Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Billions spent, huge amounts of innocent casualties, and the cocaine is still coming. If that's a success, I'd like to know what a failure looks like.

neilj

neilj writing here following my abortive attempt at 1602. The whole site seems to be attributing comments to all sorts of people!!

Rick

Rick, I get the feeling you're rather disappointed about that.

Posted by: Mark Fulford | 01 December 2005 at 15:03


Why not just napalm the whole country and be done with the problem in one fell swoop, eh Rick?

Posted by: Daniel Vince-Archer | 01 December 2005 at 15:09


Realism frighrens you. You are the kind of sentimentalists who would pour hundreds of thousands of troops into a quagmire like Afghanistan because it made you feel warm and caring to be doing something........just so long as it was not your relatives bogged down in the morass.

We can do nothing about Afghanistan - at the end of the world it will be as now - it cannot change because the tribes in the hills are so primitive they can survive anything civilisation throws at them.

Afghanistan is a great place to tie down major powers - it worked with the British Empire, it worked with the USSR, and it will work with The West and NATO if people like Mark Fulford or DVA ever got suckered into the place.

Afghanistan has done nothing for Britain historically except destroy an army retreating under a flag of truce, and it will always be precarious - we are in a similar position to Najibullah when he held Kabul and little else.................do some reading chaps.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Najibullah

James Hellyer

"The "government" in Kabul has zero power outside Kabul, that's precisely the problem."

Are you missing the point on purpose? Establishing the power and authority of the Kabul government is what both men were talking about.

"Almost all the troops and air power are American, and that's all that counts"

No, because they have no responsibility for controlling drugs prodiction. That is the sole responsibility of Britain. We volunterred for the job and then didn't do it.

"Urrm, no. Cocaine production is at a record level."

Urrm yes. US policy has been successful in many parts of Latin America - that other parts of the world, Afghanistan included, have picked up the trade slack doesn't diminish the point that liaison with honest local law enforcement (in Colombia and Guatemala for example) has helped root out corruption and successfully indict drug lords.

http://www.dea.gov/index.htm


Mark Fulford

Rick, you haven't directly answered the point but, from the history lesson, I take it that you *are* disappointed we can't irradiate the land?

Robbo

I like Michael's "Your Conservatives" - how about Vic-Tory?
Are we likely to be treated to a new name for the Party when DC takes over next week?

I would like to see the end of that dreadful "Olympic Flame".

Daniel Vince-Archer

Thanks for the history lecture Rick. Forgive me for sounding pompous but I actually have a degree in International Politics and International History, so it really isn't necessary.

Perhaps you should consider the Afghan problem as it is now, rather than trouble that occurred there in the past. We should certainly learn the lessons that past experience teaches us but use these lessons to avoid a repeat performance rather than saying a repeat performance is the inevitable outcome.

Rick

"The "government" in Kabul has zero power outside Kabul, that's precisely the problem."

Are you missing the point on purpose? Establishing the power and authority of the Kabul government is what both men were talking about.

I frankly don't care what you have a degree in Daniel if you cannot think.

The simple fact is that Britain can do nothing in Afghanistan except spout highminded soundbites like you do.

I actually have a degree in International Politics and International History Excuse my laughter......and I hope you had lots of fun getting it, but it cuts no ice.

It is time Conservatives lost this imperial mindset. A North European island with a relatively small population, a tiny army shrinking rapidly, and a shoestring budget is not able to do anything much. Recognise that Europe is out of the empire game, and the big defence cuts took place under Margaret Thatcher - they will not be reversed.

Britain is a country with huge liabilities about to unwind on its population over the next decade; pretending there will be power projection overseas is the sort of nonsense that will make the Tories a laughing stock.

Before you will the Ends, will the Means ! Increase taxes to build a real military machine - go back to 40% basic rate tax and spend money before allocating imperial legions.........

James Hellyer

"The simple fact is that Britain can do nothing in Afghanistan except spout highminded soundbites like you do."

How is equipping and supporting the military and police of the Kabul government "nothing"? How is aiding the government when it has to face down regional warlords "nothing"?

And I'm not Daniel.

 Ted

James

Don't believe everything the DEA says - the street price of cocaine is a good guide to availability & production.

Since the early 90's Colombia has grown from source of 13% or so of cocaine to 75% plus - despite high profile seizures, cartel arrests. Throughout S America the involvement of the DEA in local enforcement has led to increasing anti-US politics and support for militias. Cocaine is a S American export - ROW is more about Heroin, Hash.

If US was being successful then the evidence would be shortages of coke and increasing prices.

Even if US could demonstrate success do we want a massively increased and dangerous involvement of UK troops throughout Afghanistan? Then do we send more troops to Burma? N Thailand?

What crops could Afghans grow successfully in a semi desert mountainous terrain that could compete with the produce of better located coutries?

Its not that I don't want a solution but its not just soundbites - Afghanistan is a dangerous place, wouldn't it be better to support law enforcement in Turkey, Pakistan, Eastern Europe etc to stop the distribution routes?

I don't know but its got to be a thought out process looking at the weak points to see if we can limit the traffic - I'm not willing to see another name on our village war memorial to join the soldier lost in Iraq due to an unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

Andrew

>Are you missing the point on purpose? >Establishing the power and authority of >the Kabul government is what both men were >talking about.

You're obviously not aware that all these warlords are allied with the government - for example, Dostum has had numerous government posts. The US is quite satisfied with this situation (because it ensures a degree of stability), and they're the only ones with the military to do anything about it. Posturing by British politicians isn't going to achieve anything - something Cameron is just as guilty of incidentally.

>Urrm yes. US policy has been successful in >many parts of Latin America

Cocaine production has fallen in Colombia, but the increases in Peru and Bolivia alone have more than compensated for that. How is that a success? Meanwhile, prices have dropped by about 75% since the early 80s (when current scorched earth policies in Colombia were started).

>other parts of the world, Afghanistan >included, have picked up the trade slack

You're confused - Afghanistan doesn't produce cocaine at all. That's 90% sourced in the Andes countries, and thus the only countries picking up slack are other Latin American nations.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"I frankly don't care what you have a degree in Daniel if you cannot think."

I don't think anybody that has a pop at me in response to a comment written by somebody else ought to be making points about people that cannot think.

"Excuse my laughter......and I hope you had lots of fun getting it, but it cuts no ice."

I was making the point that you don't really need to lecture me on international history seeing as I have an academic background in the subject. Well done for using the opportunity to launch a cheap, smart-alec attack though.

James Hellyer

"You're obviously not aware that all these warlords are allied with the government - for example, Dostum has had numerous government posts."

I'm fully aware of this, oh patronising one, what has to be challenged are their regional fiefdoms. They have to be brought in line with the elected government.

"You're confused

Or made a typo.

James Hellyer

"Cocaine production has fallen in Colombia, but the increases in Peru and Bolivia alone have more than compensated for that. How is that a success?"

You work on reducing production place by place. The strategies that work in one area can be applied in others.

Or should - to draw a medical parallel - treatment that worked on one patient be discarded because another patient (who hadn't been treated) died?

Martin Smith

Getting back to the point of the thread if we may, I thought the report was excellent, but rather clouded by bias (I was at the Exeter meeting). I have to confess a small (!) bias myself, I was leafleting for Cameron, but anyway....I am fairly sure we outnumbered the Davis leafleters pretty comfortably, usually about 5 to 2 at the main entrance as people were coming in.

Second you missed Cllr Stuart Barker's question on what the candidates thought of the 21st century party document. Davis ummed and aahed before blurting "South West regional assembly, I'd get rid of it" drawing a great round of applause from an audience who were simultaneously trying to figure out what the hell that had to do with the 21st century party document. Cameron pinpointed the document's flaws and strengths. I spoke to Stuart afterwards and he said he had never seen a question flunked so badly....

That aside I was largely struck by the repetition of old jokes ("I really had Paxman")....("and I don't mean David Blunkett") and the amount of times each candidate said they agreed completely with the other.

Which leads me to highlight the main difference between them: they're advocating mostly the same positions, but the important thing is that the electorate will actually be willing to listen to Cameron putting those positions.

James Hellyer

"I am fairly sure we outnumbered the Davis leafleters pretty comfortably, usually about 5 to 2 at the main entrance as people were coming in."

More like five of us to two of you at our door!

"Second you missed Cllr Stuart Barker's question on what the candidates thought of the 21st century party document."

I didn't catch the question (I was chivalrously giving my chair at the time!) and going by the answers had no idea what it was about!

The other questions I dropped were the Europe and Education questions, where the answers simply rehashed the material from earlier hustings (double referenda/"Monsier Non"/pull out of EPP and grammar schools for inner cities/rigour.

Though on the school point I have to admit I remain disappointed by how Cameron downplays structures. The point he seems to evade is that structural reform is the way to make the professions deliver the rigour agenda he wants!

malcolm

I think Cameron really should stop boasting about 'having 'Paxman.It's just stirring up trouble for the future.Paxman was on terrible form when he interviewed Cameron but as he proved last night when he made John Hutton look very foolish he is a dangerous enemy to have.

Chris Palmer

I thought that both candidates performed well and both made numerous well-humoured comments which I enjoyed. I would disagree with the bit about the Davis supporters being more active. If you went to the back of the hall it was the reverse. Also, if David Cameron thought he was cold, then what about us at the back of the hall! We didn't even have the luxury of heaters!

Jack Stone

Personally I think in a couple of years time when some work as been done on changing the party it may very well be necessary to change the name of the party so we can get it over to people the depth of that change and also we can show people the direction we want the country to follow.
I think the theme we must keep repeating from here to the next election is reform.
We must say that if elected we will reform the public services, the tax system and the justice system.We must become the party of reform. That is why personally I think the party should consider renaming itself The Conservative Reform Party.
Many will not like it but I think if it helps us get elected then why not.

James G

It is time Conservatives lost this imperial mindset. A North European island with a relatively small population, a tiny army shrinking rapidly,

No, we should actually offer the forces as an alternative to all the ASBO offenders and various Friday and Saturday night fighters...It's what helped build the Empire in the first place.

It may be a relatively small island population, but it is cantankerous and prone to violence and the 1990s flirtation with New Manhood was just that, a flirtation; I know of no other culture that is as macho as this one...Best to harness the machismo rather than just giving them the soma of 24-hour drinking.

Rick

How is equipping and supporting the military and police of the Kabul government "nothing"? How is aiding the government when it has to face down regional warlords "nothing"?

And I'm not Daniel.

Posted by: James Hellyer | 01 December 2005 at 16:44

There is a saying that you cannot buy an Afghan, you just lease them - they are loyal to their tribe. The Russians supplied Najibullah with tons of weapons; we supplied the Taliban with weapons; the Russians equipped the Northern Alliance - they are not short of weapons.

They are short of people to trust. This is a society with very low levels of interpersonal trust, This is a long term (100 years +) venture playing with Pakistani ISI and Iranian and Chinese and Russian intrigues.


Rick

I know of no other culture that is as macho as this one...Best to harness the machismo rather than just giving them the soma of 24-hour drinking.

Posted by: James G | 01 December 2005 at 17:37

Did nothing for the Russians and their society is much rougher than Britain. In fact British society is relatively soft compared to most others, featherbedded even

Rick

.We must become the party of reform. That is why personally I think the party should consider renaming itself The Conservative Reform Party.

must ?

So Conservative Reform - sounds like a Borstal - just what exactly are you conserving Jack ?

Daniel Vince-Archer

"That is why personally I think the party should consider renaming itself The Conservative Reform Party."

Is that not a contradiction in terms? Perhaps our resident lecturer Rick Sandmann will do us the honour of giving Jack an English lesson.

henry curteis

Don't agree Malcolm. Paxo is a bully. Bullies try to achieve dominance by humiliating their targets/victims. For some reason the BBC advocate and approve of such behaviour.

So not all the blame can be placed on Paxman for becoming a verbal lout. After all, Robin day led the way. Paxman's just the latest manifestation, and unfortunately he has taken the genre beyond anything acceptable or even useful.

Cameron is right. The only language bullies understand is reverse humiliation. To defend himself he has to adopt a dominant stance, and stick 'it' on Paxman wherever and whenever he can. The funny thing about bullies - once they taste it themselves, they like it little, and the behaviour stops.

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