Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Cameron's Foreign Policy Judgement Awry over Pakistan
SOMETIMES lowering the volume is as arresting as turning it up. Tact can be as expressive as bombast. That is true of the coalition government’s diplomacy. It has been eloquently muted, with both old problems and the oozing challenge in the Gulf of Mexico: a British administration that some expected to be spikily assertive seems determined to get along with everyone.
Well, since then we've had Dave sounding off in Turkey at his host's less than favourite neighbour Israel, and in India at Pakistan's allegedly two faced approach to terrorism. It's kind of difficult with foreign policy as one can get really passionate about a topic and feel something should bed said loud and clear and not fudged in the weasel words of diplomacy. I agreed regarding Israel which has got away with murder on too many occasions it seems to me. But the Pakistan jibe was less well aimed and seemed to me to be rather ill judged. The reasons why are covered in Simon Tisdal's article in today's Guardian:
Cameron complained, accurately, that elements within Pakistan, including the military's spy agency, have been complicit in exporting and supporting terrorism, principally in Afghanistan and Kashmir. But overall, Pakistan is more victim than perpetrator. Suicide bombings and other outrages in major cities, fighting with Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas, US drone missile attacks on foreign jihadis, and political and religious feuding caused 12,600 deaths last year alone. The Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies says 3,021 people died in terrorist attacks in 2009, compared with about 2,000 in Afghanistan. Since 2001, officials say more than 2,700 Pakistani security force members have died. When it comes to fighting terror, a bit of the famous Cameron humility might not be out of place.
Cameron claimed he's he'd be 'good' at being prime minister before the election. He might find his gung ho attitude towards foreigners wins him some plaudits at home but he has offended a crucial ally in the war on terror who needs to be supported not undermined. He'd be well advised in future to keep his lip judiciously buttoned.