Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Has David Cameron caught Blair's Disease?

David Cameron may have caught Blair’s Disease. The symptoms are easy enough to spot – a British prime minister suffers delusions of power and feels compelled to commit his country to risky military adventures it doesn’t have the resources to fulfil.
Cameron came to office promising to put Britain’s interests first. But like Tony Blair before him, he has grown swiftly over-keen on rubbing shoulders with world leaders in a period of international crisis.
It is bizarre that at the same time 11,000 military personnel – including 5,000 in the RAF – are being cut, Cameron is touting the prospect of installing a no-fly zone over those parts of Libya still held by Colonel Gaddafi.
No one else seems keen on the plan. A United Nations security council resolution is out of the question – the Russians and the Chinese will see to that.
NATO is cool about the prospect – with the French downright frigid. So it’s back to those Iraq no-fly zone specialists, the US and Britain.
But this time Barack Obama’s America is a whole less gung-ho than George Bush’s. The White House and the Pentagon recognise they cannot install a no-fly zone without destroying land-based air defences.
Shedding Libyan blood – even that of Gaddafi supporters – could unify the country and much of the Arab world against the ‘invaders’ as happened in Iraq.
There is no evidence that Gaddafi is using the air force still loyal to him against civilians. Mad as the man is he must know massacres from the air would swing UN opinion in favour of action against him.
All this begs the question why has Cameron suddenly got in touch with his bellicose side? Blair had a direct line to God and as a consequence was not for turning. Cameron, however, must be smart enough to know when to sound the retreat on a bad idea.

3 comments:

  1. Yes GC. an excellent piece. {Jaffa}agrees with all you have written. It could be that with Gaddafi, restricted to a relatively small area, the UK/USA/NATO military strategists think that it would be an easy short sharp operation to remove him [and secure the petrol/diesel friendly oil for Europe?]. Yet I distinctly remember Cameron making a speech saying that he would change our defense policy to [just that] a purely defensive one, ie no more overseas operations.Far more important to deal with the current refugee problem in the area, plus to see whether all those frozen Gaddafi family assets could be used for the benefit of the people of Libya.

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  2. Thanks, Jaffa, for your reasoned comment. GC

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  3. Jaffa asks GC, whether, despite his [Jaffa's] earlier comments, the pressure to intervene militarily might increase if the price of oil continues to rise. Is it Europe that is importing this high grade oil from Libya?

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What do you think? GC