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Iran is as strong as the oil price. Each incident boosts the price of oil.

Only by driving down the price of oil will rogue regimes be brought to heel

The Difference Magazine reports the startling news that the UN Human Rights Council voted yesterday to end routine scrutiny of human rights abuses in Iran.

A determined incursion of US Special Forces and UK Special Units perhaps could be used to rescue the sailors with orders to kill everyone who gets in the way - MOSSAD frequently does such things, the CIA and British Intelligence must have an idea of where they might be held.

If they were put on trial then military reprisals by Coalition Forces should follow.

Dan Hannan has an excellent piece on Iran in his blog.

Hague's shown weakness when Israel was defending herself last year talking about proportionality of response trying to make us appear less pro-Israeli/American. He is hardly likely to be credible now talking strong to delinquent regimes.

Hague seems to think Iran will be bothered by world opinion to moderate its ways.

As Dan Hannan says, when has Iran shown any interest at all in being part of the legal way of doing business - ever since the US embassy was occupied during the Iranian Revolution?

Hague's problem is that he sees everyone as basically reasonable, which leads him to seek compromise with all comers whether they be the corrupt in the EU, the weak-willed of the Conservative Party or terrorists. Cameron should appoint Fox as Shadow Foreign Sec.

Hague's problem is that he sees everyone as basically reasonable, .

It is known as "The Eton Fallacy"...a British Diplomat having been to Eton assumes his counterparts abroad have too....and assumes they have the same view on the world he does....so any culture used to taggiya has a great time stringing the British along

Interesting, except diplomats one would expect to be err.. diplomatic and suffer from an Etonic fallacy.

Politicians should have a sense of relative power which they should project, providing diplomats with something to negotiate from - i.e. a position of strength.

Hague offers a tray of fudge on all occasions in which all parties merely get stuck. EPP. Israel. Iran. and so on.

Iran is attacking Britain as we are seen as the weak link. BLair is on his way. Brown's not known for being hungry to confront anything too difficult. Hague merely adds to this perception of feebleness.

The is exactly the situation where the Tories policy comes back to bite them. We cannot use military action so instead must use diplomacy. Iran can do whatever it wants to. I doubt they give a solitary damn about diplomacy. It never stopped them before.

As has been previously said, there must be an idea of where our sailors are. Sod diplomacy, we want our people home.

Iran knows that the British Foreign Policy Establishment in general, and the Tories in particular, are weak as water.

The only way of resolving this is to send the missiles into Tehran.

Iran knows that the British Foreign Policy Establishment in general, and the Tories in particular, are weak as water.
Iran doesn't care about the Conservative Party much because there are still only 198 Conservative MP's out of 646 and it is still just over 2 years until the next General Election, not only this but since World War II the peaks of spending on Defence were actually under Labour governments and both Labour and Conservative governments have cut defence spending - the peak was when the Conservatives entered office in 1951 when it reached 10% of GDP being boosted during the Korean War, Clement Attlee was the PM who introduced atomic weapons into the UK defences and Labour in office has only ever had PM's who back retention of nuclear weapons so long as anyone else has them, the cuts in Defence came under both main parties in the 1950's and 1960's, Labour in the late 1970's increased Defence Spending to 8% of GDP and then although the Conservative Party campaigned regularily on Defence it slashed the budget year on year from the start onwards, it has only been in the last few years that there have been real term increases - in terms of military actions undertaken there hasn't been much difference between Labour and Conservative governments with the main difference being between individual leaders.

That's probably true Sean but it must the last of last resorts. It would mean the death of our sailors and probably an igmoninious retreat/flight from southern Iraq.

I think that the Foreign Office should be a sub-department of the Ministry of Defence and put Britain's National Security and Global Security policies first.

Defence spending never reached 8% of GDP in the seventies. Its recent peak was about 5.5% of GDP in 1985, since when it has declined to about 3%.

I have not taken Hague seriously since he wore a baseball cap.

Hague, Eton fallacy?

I thought he went to at Wath-upon-Dearne Comprehensive in Rotherham.

BBC News, just now:

"So what options are open to him?

Force is out. It is seen as counterproductive"

Well, if we're ruling out any force. We (they) are hostages to fortune.

We cannot, and should not, rule out using force against a state which is conducting a proxy war against us, believes Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth and refuses to stop developing nuclear weapons.

They are dangerous extremists who are not impressed by words.

Iran need to be told, privately, about the potential military consequences of their actions.

We should also have two SAS teams on stand-by to effect a rescue.

The percentage of GDP that Defence Spending was at in the early 1980's is about what it should be now, otherwise by the time money is spent in response to a threat it is too late, it takes a lot of time to build new ships, aircraft and tanks and to recruit and train people adequately.

Defence spending never reached 8% of GDP in the seventies. Its recent peak was about 5.5% of GDP in 1985, since when it has declined to about 3%.
Looking at the figures I was surprised to find that you are actually correct about it not being as high in the 1970's, I think I must have seen wrong figures before giving the number in billions of pounds as a percentage of GDP instead.

You are certainly wrong about it falling to around 3% of GDP, it hasn't been 3% of GDP since 1995/96 and continued to fall after that, in 1996/97 it was 2.9% of GDP and fell further to 2.6% for the following 2 financial years, 2.5% in 1999/2000, 2.4% in 2000-02, 2.3% in after that and as I understand it it is now down to 2.1% of GDP although plans seem to be for it to level off at that level as a proportion of GDP or even rise slightly back to 2.3% of GDP.

Thanks. Realistically, I think 3% has to be the absolute minimum.

We are are supposed to be one of the richest and presumably most sophisticated nations in world but we cannot fund nor configure our forces properly to meet our needs. Our foreign
policy is as inadequate as our defence policy.
Both are a shambles. We need hard headed leadership not tree hugging platitudes from out of touch toffs.

I wasn't aware that Hague was a toff Bill. What would you suggest?

I don't think he is, Malcolm. But our country does need firm not petulant leadership.

So why do you think Hague has been petulant, what so you think he should have done differently?

Again I am not referring to Hague. I am referring to our country's need for general leadership.

So who are you referring to? You have described our leadership as being 'petulant' and 'full of tree hugging platitudes'.How has that impacted on our foreign policy and what do you suggest we should do differently?

Britain should, at the very least, be publically beefing up its forces now, & substantially increasing the number of its warships of all sizes in the Persian Gulf - along with accompanying combat aircraft & helicopters. At the same time, a much more vigorous approach in southern Iraq is needed, especially towards those (many of whom are almost certainly Iranian-equipped & may even be Iranian Revolutionary Guards) who nightly mortar our troops while they are trying to sleep in their bases after what are nearly always very hard days patrolling Basra's now very dangerous streets.


If you read 1214 post you will see that I referred to our nation. And that was what I was referring to when I said we needed hard headed leadership. That was what I was referring to when I wrote we need firm leadership. I do not think that is what we have had in the recent past. I do not think the currently configured Tory Party is likely to provide that either.

I think our country's foreign and defence policies have been ill served by successive governments. Whilst I incline towards libertarianism, I am a firm believer in the nation state and believe both foreign and military policies should be firmly in our country's interests. I believe our forces were ill served by the Tory defence cuts in the 90s. I also believe since New Labour have been in power the Tory opposition has been largely pathetic.

I am unimpressed by Cameron and his supporters. Whilst as noted I believe in supporting British interests first and foremost, I see the USA as our most important ally. I am unimpressed by what I see as opportunistic recent attempts to distance the UK from the USA's policies.

Over the last ten years the Tories have made a very poor fist of opposition especially when contrasted with the way Labour hounded the Tories when in power. I do not believe in consensual politics for its own sake. I believe the adversarial system produces better results.

Thank you for making that clear. I would agree with you that the defence cuts instituted by the Thatcher, Major and Blair governments have been extremely shortsighted.Sooner or later a government will have to reverse them.
If you really are interested in this countries national interest 'though I fail to see why you would disagree with anything said by Hague vis a vis our relationship with the USA.

Hague, Eton fallacy?

I thought he went to at Wath-upon-Dearne Comprehensive in Rotherham.

Posted by: matthew | March 28, 2007 at 11:39

Oh sorry Matthew, you wanted to talk about Hague - yes he went to Wath-on-Dearne Grammar School......

I was speaking about the Foreign Office and its traditional problem in understanding regimes steeped in blood and why it it so incoherent with men like Mugabe, and situations like Iran.......

I did not mention Hague, but clearly you think of little else

The 15 'hostages' are represented as a border dispute. The Navy is sure of its position measurements - could they send a heavily armed boat to 'park', or even anchor, on the disputed spot? If Iran is happy with this, that would be interesting. If they present it as an incursion, it becomes a matter of objective measurement, which can be internationally checked, I presume.
It would not normally be done that way, but the situation is not normal. Peter K.

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