Browsing All Posts filed under »Neoconservatism«

History is more complex than the Iran debate allows

October 23, 2012

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Whenever I have written about Iran, I have looked at the problems of numerous policies to deal with the country, rarely offering my own suggestions for solving the Iran problem. There are two reasons for this, one of which is that it is ridiculously complex and no one can really come up with what I […]

Tim Montgomerie can add Iraq to his list of foreign policy failures

December 20, 2011

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I have a complicated relationship with neoconservatives. Laws prohibiting murder complicate things, but also the way ‘neocons’ ruin good ideas with bad analysis. Democratization in the Middle East is tainted by its association with them (though the claim that the Arab Spring vindicates their beliefs is like Jehovah’s Witnesses claiming credit for the Second Coming…). […]

Libya: A clarification

August 18, 2011

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Since February, when the drumbeat for war with Colonel Gaddafi began, and I made an awful racket in response, I have been bugged by someone called Kellie Strøm. He has supported the intervention from the beginning and regularly makes obtuse comments about my opposition. Yesterday, Strøm pointed out my apparently uncertain position. On 17th March, […]

Younes, smugness and the future of Libya

August 2, 2011

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I have been smug about Libya for a while now. This afternoon, at lunch, a friend of mine complained that I seem to use Twitter simply to express smug satisfaction about this ill-considered war. “Facebook, too,” I added, with a smirk. The killing of General Abdel Younes, a senior rebel commander, and the retributions going […]

Israel and its inability to think strategically (still)

May 23, 2011

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Last summer, when perennial concern about Iran’s nuclear programme grew hysterical, Ron Tira, a noted Israeli strategic thinker, wrote that the importance of an attack on the country was not the operation itself but manipulating international reaction. ‘It is necessary to examine Israel’s response to different events, for example, the Turkish flotilla to the Gaza […]

Libya, The Spectator and the limits of punditry

March 13, 2011

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There is nothing like an international crisis to make pundits think they are foreign policy experts; to the actual experts, each sloppy op-ed is like someone pushing to the floor a trolley full of brass instruments. As the uprising in Libya has turned to armed rebellion, I have had to cover my ears to avoid […]

What to do in Libya?

March 10, 2011

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The clamour for a no-fly zone over Libya is deafening; and so frightening is the sound that politicians may soon lose their heads and concede to creating one. I keep asking myself: what would the no-fly zone be for? James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator magazine, seems to think it’d help the rebels defeat […]

Making sense of the 2015 withdrawal

March 6, 2011

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The Foreign Affairs Committee published a report this week on Afghanistan and Pakistan, looking at how the United Kingdom has handled the conflict – especially the Coalition government. I have been following the inquiry since it began last summer and was excited to finally get my hands on its conclusions. From what I’ve read, regional […]

Forget Garibaldi and Palmerston; listen to Lord Salisbury

March 2, 2011

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David Cameron gave a statement on the Libyan crisis Monday, telling MPs he will not tolerate the violence and that he had asked the Chief of the Defence Staff to look into creating a no-fly zone. The American Weekly Standard described him as ‘Churchillian’, which should’ve been a warning to the Prime Minister that perhaps […]

No closer friend, no greater ally

January 13, 2011

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American readers, and French ones, and anyone who lives outside the United Kingdom might have missed that the Special Relationship ended this week. President Obama ended it with a shocking ‘kick in the teeth’, when he said the United States doesn’t ‘have a stronger friend and a stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French […]

Decontaminating Conservative foreign policy

January 8, 2011

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I have had another small breakthrough with my work on Conservative foreign policy, triggered by making notes from Professor Tim Bale’s The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron. He spends the last chapter of the book looking at David Cameron’s ‘brand decontamination’ strategy. The biggest problem the Party had between 1997 and 2005 was that […]

The dearth in Conservative foreign policy thinking

December 11, 2010

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The editor of ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie, started an interesting debate this week about the future of Conservatism in Britain. His contention is that there are two brands on offer to the Party, ‘liberal’ and ‘mainstream’. David Cameron and the coalition government are the former, and Montgomerie worries they have taken the Party too far to […]

Hague goes to Washington!

November 17, 2010

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William Hague gave the last speech in his series on the coalition government’s foreign policy tonight, speaking to students at Georgetown University. To be honest, I tuned out for much of it simply because there wasn’t anything new (I’ve spent the last two months going over and over his and other Conservatives’ statements on foreign […]