On British foreign policy…

Liberal bloggers, it seems, don’t treat with the middle east. Kevin Drumm, of the US’s most able, gave his own reasons recently. However, the Observer’s Martin Bright has a think piece out which hints that the ‘Blair doctrine’ of the Northern Irish peace process, ie empowering militants at the expense of the middle ground, is what is driving the UK’s Foreign Office Middle East policy. It’s a theme (scroll down) picked up by Nick Cohen in the Observer. Delwar Hussain blames government policy for a drift from the secular left towards Islam for instance.

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  • Pete Baker

    I tend to agree with Martin Bright’s analysis on this, and there’s possibly related issues raised in this post I noted previously.

    There’s also an additional element in this, Mick, and that’s the announcement by John Reid of the proscribing of two of the more militant Islamist groups for glorifying terrorism… one of those groups counts the too-frequent visitor to these shores Anjem Choudary as its spokesman.

  • I see Bright’s piece is published by Policy Exchange, whose director Dean Godson, haws been making this argument recently about the peace process as an example of what not to do.
    Godson’s father was a US Labour attache in London during the cold war, and he seems to prefer a cold war approach as a precedent for the war on terror.
    Indeed, he has recommended the revival of something like Britain’s cold war propaganda organisation, the Information Research Department.
    The IRD actually had a lot of input into information policy in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s, at a time when the Army’s information policy unit was concluding that the SDLP, the Irish News and, ironically, Fr Dennis Faul were propaganda fronts for the IRA.
    It may well be difficult to distinguish between moderates and extremists, but there is more than one way to get it wrong.

  • DK

    It’s a frequent theme of Nic Cohen which he uses to castigate the extreme left, who are often apologists for the more odious elements of islamic extremism – as long as they are fighting americans.

  • micheal

    In the real world John Pinnar the BBC political correspondent has said on R5 that Bush and Blair have agreed that Israel will be allow to act without restraint for two weeks. It is not clear whether he means another two weeks or two weeks in total. This is the difference between 750 and 500 dead Lebanese. But that doesn’t seem to make any difference to people who have already caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands in their war for oil and Zion. Blair does not need to pander to extremists. He is one.