The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Nice Change

We've had a change of government, you know. The Upper Miliband has been hard at work recasting New New Labour's foreign policy. Whereas Tony and his chums maintained that such adventures as Operation Iraqi Looteration constituted an honest, albeit not unflawed, response to a moral imperative to spread democracy among the uncivilised tribes, the Upper Milband claims that, despite the not unflawed nature of such adventures as Operation Iraqi Looteration, the moral imperative to spread democracy among the uncivilised tribes must not be clouded. This is certainly an improvement.

Motivated by a "deep concern" whose depth has been established beyond all doubt thanks to the telepathic abilities of the Guardian's Patrick Wintour, the Upper Miliband offers "a string of practical proposals" with which to tie up the case for democracy and hang it somewhere convenient. These include:

- "encouraging economic openness as a means of tackling corruption" which, as we know, has been working like a charm both here and in Iraq;

- "a new round of provincial elections in Iraq, to help to bind in former insurgents who want proof of their local influence" over whatever political movements the US government can, in conscience, permit. Those reclaimed insurgents who cannot afford to paint targets on themselves would also get "the chance to join the Iraqi security force".

- "security guarantees" offered by "organisations like the UN or NATO" to governments which might find the firepower useful in suppressing non-democratic elements;

- support for "civilian surges", provided they are led by "literate, better-educated people able to access information and communicate with others" rather than by those who have not had the kind of privileges to which the Upper Miliband and his ilk have been accustomed.

The Upper Miliband claims to "understand the doubts about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deep concerns at the mistakes made"; though not, apparently, the shallower concerns at the crimes committed. In another delightfully nuanced piece of recasting, he pleads for a line to be drawn under the event: "My plea is not to let divisions over those conflicts obscure our national interest, never mind our moral impulse, in supporting movements for democracy. ... We should not let the debate about the how of foreign policy obscure the clarity about the what". Debates over illegal conflicts which are still going on should not be permitted to obscure New New Labour's idea of the national interest, which is of course definitive and non-negotiable. Movements for democracy are all very well, except when they begin at home.


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