« Any questions for the Mayor of London? | Main | 'Go to conservatives.com now and decide which tax you want cut...' »


This is better but your earlier post was correct Tim. This statement is welcome but on Europe, the surge in Iraq, UN reform and rebuilding our armed forces there is far too much caution. Hague is to blame for this.

'We applaud Mr Cameron's solidarity with Georgia.'

Mr Cameron's solidarity with Georgia ?

Come off it.

Blathering on about how upset he is and how Russia shouldn't be allowed to act in this way isn't showing solidarity, it's insulting our intelligence.

Still, as long as Hague is left to do the thinking I don't mind if Dave does the spin.

This is possibly why William was being cautious - because he knew that his Party Leader was going to issue this statement and he didn't want to upstage him.

Come off it Sally, DC has clearly hardened the response.
This is humiliating for Hague.

Well said, Mr Cameron!

Of course it isn't humiliating for Hague.

His policy (that we can't do a damned thing about it) remains that of the party because it is the only sensible one.

Obviously this cold, hard truth isn't much of a vote winner, which is why DC has to peel an onion and start making with the emotive soundbites.

It's teamwork.

Although it could be said that Cameron's hardened response has undermined William's cautious remarks, I do feel that Mr Hague took the right line. As he spoke out before the party leader, making a hard-line response would have been an overly-risky move. After all it is a very tense situation, with Georgia having initiated the violence to a certain extent. However I do agree that Russia's response has been disproportionate. The word 'bully' comes to mind I must say...

There's no reason to believe that the hardening of the line wasn't agreed by William Hague.

Over the last 48 hours Russia's behaviour has deteriorated.

"We should be working with our European partners---"

What is the EPP line?

You could be right Felicity. Fair comment.

Ultra loyalist! Wow, not sure I am that.

Anyway, for the avoidance of doubt, I think using the language of the playground bully is ill-judged. We should condemn it utterly, demand they stop, but not go too far in raising the rhetorical temperature.

I think the White House got it pretty much spot on with their comments from Beijing:

Tim, do you accuse the White House of not going far enough?

By the way, thanks for the mention of Platform 10, Tim. I hadn't seen it before and it's a good site.

I particularly like the intelligent comparisons made there between Putin's regime and Tsarist Russia. One of the depressing things about most political pundits is that they think that history began and ended with WW2.

Again, we're lucky in having in Hague a man who does have a genuine understanding of history (and not just a subscription to the History channel!)

Benet: I hope you know I was only teasing. I enjoy Platform10.

On your question I don't see much difference between the White House and what Cameron is now saying. Or am I missing something? I think they are both moreorless in the right place.

Great idea. Throw the Russians out of the G8. Let's refuse to buy their oil and gas too. Come winter we can all sit in a huddle and warm our hands round a campfire instead.

I don't think so... if Georgia had been a member of NATO it would probably still have killed 2,000 South Ossetians (out of a population of 70,000 - a greater proportion of its population than Britain lost in the whole of WWII) secure in the knowledge that its friends would back it up. I am hearing a great deal of condemnation of the acts of the Russians, but none of the Georgians - who started the shooting match.

Few people seemed to be all that bothered about proportionality in Kosovo, after all, we bombed Belgrade when that was going on... why do I get the feeling that the rules are being changed here? Could it be that we are being told to shut up and line up behind the USA?

Michael McGough, if you are genuinely interested in "the EPP line" then have a look at http://www.epp.eu/ where their President Mr Martens has made a statement on the situation.

Come off it nothing, Umbrella Man! Hague is hardly humiliated and as Felicity has correctly pointed out, the situation has deteriorated within the last day or so.

I think it is a question of degree. I don't want to over-state my criticism of Cameron (maybe I am an ultra loyalist :-) ). However, does it help to describe Russia as a 'bully' at this juncture?

I am more concerned with the tone in many other comments (and conversations) that build Russia into a cold-war style enemy.

Russia has over-reacted. They should stop. The UN should pass a motion condemning their over-reaction; their troops should leave.

But equally we should recognise that Russia was provoked; that this is a very old territorial dispute; and that the Georgian President is clearly a dangerous liability.

If Georgia was a member of NATO we'd either be at war with Russia at this moment or NATO collective security would have been totally discredited.

Very disappointing from Mr Cameron.

Georgia attacked South Ossetia and killed Russian "peacekeepers". Russia responded violently.

Imagine what the USA would do if Serbia attacked Kosovo and killed American "peacekeepers".

Remember what USA did to Serbia

Cameron blathering, Hague humiliated, etc. Well
I'm glad they're leading the party, rather than some of the excitable correspondents on this blog.

Yes much better than Hague.

The disproportionate angle is worrying - what would be a proportionate response and why?

Cameron calls it wrong. A pity. [Separatist Georgia attacked S.Ossetia; Russia responded accordingly].

This looks horribly like Cameron wants a rerun of the last millennium's Balkan-conflict cockup where Europe/NATO backed the wrong side [a bunch of kosovan terrorists] and bombed Serbia.

I'm not saying that Cameron blathering is a bad thing, John. Quite the opposite.

My point was that DC's emoting shouldn't be confused with 'showing solidarity with Georgia'. It ain't showing solidarity with Georgia, it's political showmanship for the British media (nauseating but necessary).

As you say: 'I'm glad they're leading the party, rather than some of the excitable correspondents on this blog.'

Benet says that "the UN should pass a motion condemning [Russia's] over-reaction." Has he forgotten that Russia holds a security council veto?

Those wanting day-to-day updates from a Thatcherite in Georgia should head to http://giajandieri.blogspot.com/.

He's losing this one, thank God. Look at the reaction to Denis MacShane's warmongering piece over on the Telegraph today.

Just as Telegraph readers have never really bought into the theory that a country with neither a European language nor a Christian majority is somehow part of the West at all, never mind the West's front line, so they have never really bought into hostility to post-Soviet Russia, rightly identifying her instead as, in common with all the Slavs (not least including the Serbs), the bulwark, against Islamic and other threats, of the civilisation defined by the Biblical-Classical synthesis.

And today, they have at last started to say so.

Perhaps they have finally realised that Russia's enemies are old Marxists from back in the day. See, for example, the Harry's Place website, which has its roots in Straight Left, the most unerringly pro-Soviet faction within the old Communist Party of Great Britain and among its nominally Labour fellow-travellers, and which therefore opposes the present Russian Government out of support for the only viable alternative, namely the totally unreconstructed Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Or see the BBC, uncritical cheerleaders for the National Bolsheviks, whose flag says it all: the Nazi flag with a black hammer and sickle in place of the swastika.

These are people who define themselves precisely by their opposition to the Biblical-Classical synthesis, which is the West.

And Telegraph-reading conservatives have either only just noticed, or only just started to say so. Either way, though, better late than never. And welcome aboard.

I'm so glad few of the people on this blog are actually running things. Hague's statement was well judged at the time-you had military action by Georgia against seperatists (any different from Kosovo?) to which Russia responded with force-neither side had acted well, with Russia perhaps slightly more in the wrong since it had moved into a sovereign country. Since then, while Georgia appears to be retreating back and open to a truce, Russia has pushed further in, and targeted the pipeline which is some distance away from South Ossetia. Hence the new position is more apporpriate.

If this is, indeed, DC's considered opinion, then we should be worried.

People like him, and Blair, and Brown, and the rest of them, have absolutely no understanding of defence and foreign affairs and are quite happy to commit others to risk their lives to satisfy their vanity.

Does he not realise that if Georgia was a member of NATO then we would probably be at war with Russia, a nuclear power. And who would be fighting this war? Not him and his political kin. And if NATO had not responded, then the single most important international institution for the peace of Western Europe could well be broke - if Afghanistan does not do this before.

It is the rapid expansion of NATO and the EU in the first place that has boxed Russia into a corner and given it the single impression that the Western power block has no place for Russia. When we unilaterally recognise a separatist province, Kosovo, against the wishes of the Serbian state, we should not be surprised when Russia takes this unilateralism as a green light for them to step in on the side of the Ossetian separatists.

This is power politics and DC demonstrates that he does not understand how it works. On such naivety are wars started.

Regardless of the origins of this dispute, does the Russian response mean that Cameron and Osborne will pay more attention to what Liam Fox says about the defence of our realm?

Perhaps the Typhoon isn't such a waste of money. Shame Georgia dosen't have anything like it.

You and the others equate Kosovo to this situation. I cannot see the basis on which you do this. If you truly believe it, which I doubt, to me it is illogical. And if you do, then there is little that can be done, the marker goes down.
Serbia had well-documented war-crimes and the permitted continuance of their agenda would have led to a Rwanda/Burundi in Europe. Also Milosevic created the Kosovo situation almost entirely by himself. Am I happy with the people who fronted Kosovo's aspirations to freedom? No I was not. Are they better than the solution the Milosevic wanted? Yes. Was it a good solution? No, but perhaps nearer the top of possible options than the Serbian option on offer. Will it resonate later in history? Very possibly, who can tell with authority?
But in case of Georgia, where is the Serb/Kosovan context of proven abuse? Where is the collective collaborative context of NATO and the UN?
Tell me your story on this, tell me of the concentration camps in Ossetia that replicate the camps during the battles of the Yugoslav republics to assert themselves? To justify these actions today in the context of Kosovo shows either a complete absence of logic or a sense of appeasement to a bully or a belief in the Slav brotherhood. If you can give me an argument outside of those three things, I will be surprised.

But Sally, the time to get it right was at the beginning so to discourage what was always likely and has happened; a more aggressive Russian stance.

How desperately sad to hear the Georgian president appealing for help from the West – against the Russians. Fat chance from this current government!

Look what happened earlier this year when the Russians were threatening not to lend paintings for a Royal Academy exhibition in case some had been seized from their rightful owners in the past, and would then be subject to legal action to return them. Unbelievably this current government passed a law ‘protecting’ the paintings – de facto the Russians. Can you imagine that happening with Nazi looted art?!

And the silence was deafening – from this current government in 2006 – when the Russian Duma – under Putin - legalised the murder of dissidents living abroad - link:

Now the Russians have marched into Georgia – echoing Stalin aiding Hitler in the invasion of Poland in 1939 [although a lot of commentators in this country whitewash Stalin out of this!]. No wonder the Georgian president calls the Russians “barbaric”

Russia is stuck in a 19th century imperialist mindset. A long as Putin is in power, that wll not change.

'Now the Russians have marched into Georgia – echoing Stalin aiding Hitler in the invasion of Poland in 1939'


The difference being, of course, that the Poles didn't start the ball rolling by shelling a German town.

Personally, I think this whole cock up is down to the Georgians being naive enough to believe in the Americans' security guarantees.

Obviously the Russians weren't going to let Georgia do a Serbia on Ossetia.

Obviously the Americans' weren't going to come to their aid if they did.

Hague was man enough to face that reality head on, Cameron is politician enough to sound serious while saying meaningless things about it.

A polished performance all round, I'd say.


I will tell you why Kosovo is relevant to what is happening in South Ossetia: Kosovo and South Ossetia were both regions of another sovereign state: Serbia and Georgia. Both regions wanted separation against the wishes of the sovereign state, only the Western powers decided to support Kosovo and not support South Ossetia. This is why the two issues are equatable.

You are, of course, right to say that Serbia treated Kosovo far worse than Georgia did South Ossetia but the fundamental point about contradictory attitudes to the two regions remains.

This is not to excuse or appease Russia and it is certainly not to say that our attitude to Kosovo caused the situation in Georgia. However, that Kosovo and the expansion of the EU and NATO plays in the minds of those who rule Russia is as true as anything in this situation.

Foreign policy is about sending subtle signals to other powers that must be considered, consistent and considerate to the sensibilities of those powers. Anything else is to poke the wasps' nest.

The point of my original post was to say that despite our proclivity for soundbite politics, foreign policy demands a little more sophistication in what is a game of chess. Knee jerk calls to condemn Russia for what they are doing merely gives the impression that children are in charge and in such a situation we should be extremely worried. This is the sort of approach that led to Iraq, Afghanistan, the loss of world opinion, after 911, in the so called war on terror and the growing alienation between Russia and the West.

I do not think this is at all 'illogical'.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker