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Brilliant analysis Tim. I hope DC says all of that but he won't. These are my predictions:

"(1) Britain is at war and western civilisation is in danger." HE WILL SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT

"(2) Iran must be stopped from becoming a nuclear power." HE'LL DUCK THIS ISSUE (LIKE EVERY OTHER WORLD LEWADER)

"(3) Retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq is inconceivable." YES, HE'LL SAY THIS.

"(4) Our armed forces must be larger, better paid and much better equipped." HE'LL SAY THIS.

"(5) The UN cannot be relied upon for the defence of Britain." HE WON'T SAY ANYTHING AS STARK AS THIS. IT WILL BE UN FRIENDLY UNFORTUNATELY.


"(7) Missile defence must be prioritised again." THIS WON'T BE EVEN MENTIONED.



"(10) Conservatives will protect the homeland." YEAH. HE'LL SAY THIS.


Good points overall and well put. I do think you have missed a couple of crucial points though:

1. We must reduce our dependence on Gulf fossil fuels. As long as the West relies so heavily on Gulf oil and gas, it will never have the stomach to fully take on the regimes that in some way or another assist the the "Islamic facists".

2. A viable Palestinian state. As long as the Palestinian people are not seen to get justice, this issue will continue to act as a recruiting sergeant for would-be terrorists. "We must stand with Israel" yes, but also work harder to bring about a just solution for the Palestinians. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Thank you TomTip - I agree with both of your additions.

I agree that Britain & much of the world is threatened by what I saw today called "Horrorism" - the response of some in Islam to the seduction of the West. The Salafists and other sects within Islam are threatened by the attractive lifestyle we offer and in a frenzy there are those among them that are using horror tactics to drive us into warfare with Islam. Cameron must be careful to tread the fine line between condemning the practioners and condeming Islam.

Retreat from Iraq & Afghanistan is inconceivable. Agree to the latter, on the former reading reports of torture in Abu Graib following its return to Iraqi government control, the mass executions this week, it seems we have removed one terror regime and are close to installing a Shia equivalent. We cannot afford to be beaten but my hopes that post occupation Iraq will be in any form a truly democratic state are slim. The policy seems to be trying to arrange an exit strategy without really caring anymore about the human rights agenda we went to war for. I'm not sure what Cameron can say other than platitudes & hope as regards Iraq.

We say cannot let failed states become training camps for another generation of terrorists but the North West Frontier, Iran, Syria, possibly Somalia are places that continue to harbour the organisations that deliver horror to ourselves and our allies. What is our strategy for isolating and beating these states? If its to be just the UN then I despair.

Agree we must stand and defend Israel but as a truthful friend. Charles de Gaulle (not a hero of mine) warned in 1968 that Israeli occupation of the left bank and Gaza would lead to the corruption of Israeli ethics. A two state solution must be found that delivers Palestine from the twin evils of corrupt Fatah, terrorist Hamas on one hand and Isreali occupation on the other. Not just for the good it would bring the Palestinians but for the good it would deliver to Israel.

Conservatives will protect the homeland. Let's add to that and protect the values that our homeland believes in. The enemy among us don't value life, we do, they don't believe in democracy and innate human rights, we do, they see all of us, soldiers, civilians, men, women & children as valueless victims, we value each individual and are just. We need to have more police, more intelligence, better strategy & training for them. We don't need more laws just better enforcement of those we have.

Our police can find time to investigate and/or charge footballers who cross themselves, Christians who say they think homesexuality is a sin, Prime Ministers who swear at the Welsh why can't they charge the imans who take boys to paintball as bonding episodes to bring them into the terrorist conspiracy? We recognise from previous sects ( Children of God, Moonies ) how easy it is for young people to be converted by freely offered 'friendship' and immersion in a group. Lets target those who are subverting the young and remove them from society.

Which element takes precedence, if we find that we cannot have both an ethical AND successful foreign policy?

1) I really hope he doesn't say anything like "axis of evil" or "Arc of Extremeism". I don't believe either of these things is true, it would make him sound like Admiral Akbar from the Return of the Jedi, It also gives weight to Islamists who in reality are never going to be the threat that Nazi Germany were. I don't honestly believe Western Civilisation is in danger, and if the Politicians did, do you not think we would be fighting a total war. I think even Al-quaeda would not be stupid enough to use weapons of mass destruction as that would be the end of them by whatever means necessary.
2) I agree that Iran should be stopped, but is this realpolitik what with the debacle in Iraq.
3) At the moment retreat from Afghanistan is inconceivable. I couldn't believe that Pakistan have effectively given the Taleban one of their provences to use as a base because they no longer wish to fight them. I think withdrawl from Iraq will happen within a couple of years anyway.
4) Our armed forces certainly should be better equipped, larger possibly but only if we strategically need them to be.
5) I do not subscribe to us being in a world war, and in fact it plays into the Islamists hands if we really treat them as a credible threat. The UN is going to be vitally important in the World if we are not to subside into a pre world war one type balance of power situation.
6) We should indeed invest heavily in soft power as a defence against Islamic extremism. Pre-emptive military intervention of the kind seen in Iraq is neither likely nor desirable as far as I can see. However airstrikes are feasible if only as a last resort.
7) If missile defence is to be preempted it will not be the UK doing it. I do agree however that it is desirable but not top priority.
8) I agree with all of this however far from going it alone in places like Darfur the UN needs to be made to work.
9) Certainly see Israel as an ally but there is absolutely no reason for the UK to take the unprecedented stand that we took in the Lebanon conflict. I don't believe that has helped our credibility at all in the Middle East.
10) Homeland security is the biggest priority of the lot. We need to stop the conspiracy theorists winning in the Battle of ideas (Having a counter conspiracy i.e arc of extremism is not helpful in this) The majority of the British Muslim community sees the 9/11 attacks as a conspiracy by America and Israel - probably with Bush and Blair parachuting out of the planes at the last minute. This is clearly total crap but a rational argument needs to be put forward as to why it is crap i.e why would we damage our economies, spend billions of dollars, make ourselves unelectable etc etc. Also if they are so paranoid I certainly hope the security services are exploiting this by for example setting up fake islamist websites, handing out leaflets outside mosques or infiltrating islamic groups at universities. The ease with which they operate needs to be totally disrupted.

I agree entirely with TomTip's two points.

James Arbuthnot MP was very good on Radio 4's Westminster Hour last night. He was underlining the need for better-resourced armed forces. The package argued that overstretch of our armed forces was particularly real in certain specialist areas like intelligence and translation where qualified soldiers were getting too little opportunity for R&R between tours.

Andy Peterkin: "Which element takes precedence, if we find that we cannot have both an ethical AND successful foreign policy?"

Where would you see an "ethical" foreign policy being most in conflict with a "successful" foreign policy?

I hope that this foreign policy speech is not an attempt to triangulate....'Neocons/USA bad - Islamic fascists bad, therefore UN good,(although Cons will insist on reform...)Triangulation doesn't work when a decision you make as PM could lead to the death of soldiers. Policy should have the ring of sincerity about it. As much as the public distrusts Blair's failure to be honest about the reasons for the war, they will come to despise a pretender to the throne if they sense on such a serious issue as war, he is insincere. Remember what happened to M Howard. Even though the public were against the war in the run up to the election in 2004, when Howard said..'if he knew then what he knew now...' they believed he was insincere and his poll rating fell sharply. In foreign policy they want leadership they trust will do what is best for the country, not love, actually.


Editor - well, what if a successful foreign policy requires some "unethical" covert or clandestine operations?

We really need some sort of definition of what is "ethical", or the test is meaningless. Would the national interest be sacrificed in favour of "nice"?

1) I think it is absolutely vital we beef up our army and their equipment. That will require new money not shuffling money around.
2) We must also put more resources into homeland security and intelligence.
3) We must go back to policies that seek to divide and rule. The Iraq war mainly served to unite the Arab world. Afganistan is a different matter, by engaging the enemy there we help to make the West safer.
4) We should look again at missile defence to see if we could have some involvement at a sensible cost.
5) I liked the idea DC seemed to be floating of creating a new circle of foreign partners like India.
6) We should keep the Islamic threat in context. This is not war in the conventional sense but the real problem realtes to internal order.


Would largely agree with everything written by Ted & Matt. The pre- speech 'spin' appears to be concentrating on Camerons need to combat the anti-Americanism that is rife in our country at the moment. If that proves to be accurate I would support Cameron entirely. To me, countering anti-Americanism is one of the greatest challenges that we face in this country .If the US lose Britain as friends then I do forsee a period of American isolationism which would be a disaster for us.
Camerons strategy of frank disagreement with the neocons in Washington together with building up links with people like John McCain is sensible.Looking at the polls it is quite obvious that President Bush and the majority of the American people are not in agreement,Cameron needs to play on this and show the British people that there is much more to the USA than the likes of President Bush.

Hmm, oh dear
1) Britain is at war and western civilisation is in danger.

But Britain's place on the frontline was created by its attack on a non-fundamentalist Islamic state, namely Iraq. Britain has gained nothing, and lost very much.

We need to examine the threat from within. Why do we tolerate Islamic extremists in our country, why do we fund them, give them a voice?

What we do not need is to pick a fight with even more of them by disasters like Iraq.

(2) Iran must be stopped from becoming a nuclear power.

This policy is that of the US government, and is clearly failing, Iran are closer than ever to this.

Is there really such a thing as an ethical foreign policy? Call me cynical if you like, but surely the whole point of a foreign policy is to draw a divide between us (those wot live 'ere) and them (them wot don't) and to try to pursuade "them" that it is their best interests do do things in way that is as good as possible for "us". If other countries don't have a self-interested foreign policy towards you then it might be possible to be genuinely ethical, but I don't see too much evidence for that.

That is not to say that there shouldn't be a set of values that we belive in and that we feel we should promote as they would benefit other peoples too. Indeed, I think that the attraction of this country for a great many people is precisely because there
are a set of values (such as politness, consideration, fairness) that they admire and believe to be expressed particularly strongly in Britain.

But even in this case you risk running into real difficulties: after all, although we think that the values we stand for are fantastic we must accept that we are in highly subjective territory. In short, is it ethical to force your values on another culture, even if you belive them to be superior?

matthew: "Britain's place on the frontline was created by its attack on a non-fundamentalist Islamic state, namely Iraq."

It is naive to believe that the war on terror started with the invasion of Iraq. Remember matthew that 80 Britons died on 9/11. As Hitchens says in today's featured article, 9/11 was not so much an attack on America but an attack on all civilised nations.

That's disingenuous, Umbrella Man, Britain was not the target in September 11 - the planes hit the US. Any UK deaths were merely a part of the attack.

You can fairly call it an attack on civilisation itself, but we have turned it a direct attack on Britain through foreign policy that has achieved nothing.

Matthew: just substitute Americans for communists and Israelis for trade unionists and you'll get my objection to your 'this is not our war' argument...

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."

1)"Britain is at war and western civilisation is in danger."

Christ, I hope DC doesn't repeat this rubbish.
Western civilization is not in danger.

The only way our civilization could be in danger is if there was an occupying Islamist army enforcing codes of behaviour (which may be an argument against immigration), or we institute a police state to protect ourselves. Terrorism is a criminal threat, like any other mass murder - like Harold Shipman (who killed more than the Madrid Bombings). Terrorists should be hunted down and stopped just as any other mass/serial murderers should be.

2) Agreed, and if all else fails the sites should be bombed. BUT full-scale invasion would be a(nother) disaster.

(3) "Retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq is inconceivable."
Agreed - Only to avoid emboldening the terrorists. But its a situation we should never ever have got into.

(4) Agreed
(5) Agreed - Nations should be free to act in their own interest. Even when catastrophically wrong.
(6) "We must pre-empt threats... by the deployment of so-called soft power" Agreed
"greater investment in the intelligence services" Agreed
"with military action." The trouble is you have to be right. Attacking Iraq was a blunder on the level of Napoleon or Hitler invading Russia, or the "Domino Theory" and Vietnam, or Reagan invading Grenada. Its as if Churchill focused on Franco and invaded Spain.

(7) "Missile defence must be prioritised again" Missles from Iran or N.Korea are not a problem, MAD will stop them. The problem is those states giving nukes to terrorists.

(8) "Foreign policy must be ethical" Please no. Thats what Labour said in '97 and I knew then it was going to be a disaster. Foreign policy must be in Britain's practical interest, and only in Britain's interest, not trying to remake the world as sweetness and light. Realpolitik is the only way to get results.
(9) "We must stand with Israel." Agreed, but not unconditionally.
(10) Agreed.

I don't think it's sensible to lay down that Iran must not become a nuclear power, if there's no way that we can prevent that happening. They've taken precautions against conventional air strikes, a pre-emptive nuclear strike would be insane, and a land invasion is not feasible. So all that can be done is to delay the day when Iran has both the bomb and a global delivery system by whatever indirect and if necessary clandestine and "unethical" means we can use. If we can gain enough time, Iranian society may evolve to the point where the Iranian people will themselves act to prevent their own annihilation in a nuclear exchange. Failing that, the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction may not work with leaders who are religious fanatics and whose eyes are turned mainly to the next world rather than this. Therefore I can only think that we should plan for Maximum Assured Survival. At least then the Iranian leaders would know that post-Armageddon there would be nothing left of Iran but whatever remained of the world would still be under the control of the hated infidels, and a perpetual affront to Allah.

I'd agree with Editor's points 6) and 10), but I think the other points are dealt with much more pragmatically by John Gale 11.57 and Denis Cooper 12.37.


Whilst I do think its a bit of an over-statement to say that "western civilisation is in danger", I understand the sentiment. But why do you seem to be concerned only about "western" civilisation?

Since 9/11, the victims of Islamic "facists" have been non-Westerners by a HUGE margin - think Iraq (20,000+ civilians killed by terrorists, Darfur and Afghanistan, not mention the terrorist outrages in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia. Remember, Muslims are the targets of these "facists" too - they are not just after the West, but the destruction of the entire world order as we know it.

Wouldn't it have been better to have dropped the word "western"? CIVILISATION is under threat, world-wide, not just in the West.

"Foreign policy must be ethical"

I suppose the new 'ethical' dimension of foreign policy has its origins in the early 1990's genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda. It came to be widely felt that some actions were so morally appalling that international intervention was justified on moral and humanitarian grounds alone, independent of national interests. The influence of the 24 hour news media such as CNN in this development was strong, as continual TV coverage reinforced the feeling that 'we must do something.' It is certainly important that foreign policy should be subjected to ethical concerns, and it would be good to see the party taking a lead in working out what this might mean in practice in countries where human rights are being violated.

As was said at the time of Bosnia, if the government fails to act if a neighbouring country is being assaulted, how can it expect its citizens to go to each other's help in a similar situation ? We shouldn't define 'national interest' too narrowly: it is surely in our national interest that aggression against defenceless people should be opposed if it is in our ability to do so, and that international law should be upheld.

As far as political strategy on this issue goes I suppose the Tories distancing themselves from Blair poodling up to Bush is an ok start.
I still think it would be nice if the Tories, as the official Opposition party, actually started opposing the way Labour has conducted the 'war' to date. Its possible to agree 100% with the aims and goals of the war (Peace, security and democracy - who can't support that) and still find some very, very serious issues with the way its been conducted:
1) Why hasn't Osama Bin Laden been captured yet? Surely that should be the absolute number one priority in this? Are we seriously saying that between the combined might of the US and its allies we genuinely can't find this man? What sort of message does that send about our capabilities and drive?
2) At this stage withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq is unthinkable. That doesn't mean that Blair (and Bush) should be let off the hook for the massive strategic error they made in attacking Iraq before completing the pacification of Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq was completley unnecessary and had no strategic value in the war on terror. It has not only been a massive propoganda coup for the terrorists and served as a massive new source of jihadist recruits, but it has served to massively strehgthen the regional influence of Iran. History will record that the war in Iraq was as vital to us winning the war on terror as the war in Vietnam was to victory in the cold war.
3) Labours treatment of the armed forces is bordering on a disgrace - demanding more and more for less and less. Boosting pay for the armed forces, and sorting out the scandal of military procurement should be a major priority for the next government.

There's little to add to the Telegraph's report on Cameron's speech.

"(Lady Thatcher's) unequivocal support for the US-led War on Terror was in marked contrast to Mr Cameron's call for a "rebalancing" of Britain's relationship with America"

Courage and determination from one of Britain's greatest leders. Weasel words and cynical party politics from her wannabee successor.

Says it all, really.


I would be grateful if you would send me the official and uptodate Conservative party policy on Missile Defense please.

Thank you

Lindis Percy

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