Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “International Policing”

What about the Elephants?

This (2015 UK) General Election seems to consist of lots of minor and pretty irrelevant skirmishes. The major issues seem to be un-addressed in the election.

So what are these elephants in the room? Read more…


Giving Democracy to the World

There is a curious argument running under many “foreign” news stories – particularly concerning Africa and the Middle East.

There is an assumption that “democracy” (as defined by us) is a “gift” that we should impose on the rest of the world.

Does this really stand up to scrutiny? Read more…

Finding the right place in the World

The naming ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth last week at Rosyth, Scotland was a reminder that the UK still has what many would see as grandiose (and expensive) ideas of its place in the world – ideas that would probably not be pursued by an independent Scotland.

Whilst part of me felt very proud of the idea that (once we have got the aircraft) we would have an ability to “project power” at least half of the time (assuming the second carrier never enters service), part of me is left thinking “what for”? Read more…

Big Problems need Big State Solutions

I am struck over and over again that some country’s governments take great delight in the concept of “Small Government”, whilst we face big problems requiring the sort of big solutions that only “Big Government” (and sometimes international cooperation) can solve.

For example:

Read more…

Unstacking Russia’s Syrian Doll

The more the Russian plan to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention gathers momentum, the more the sceptics try to pick it apart. Read more…

Obama’s dilemma and International Will

Recently his [Obama’s] words have lost a little of their ability to glamour the listener.

Mr Obama is one of the few politicians who display their internal workings, and that has its charm.

But it is not only the Prince of Denmark’s soliloquies that are a reflection of indecision, that blunt actual action. Battling it out inside the president’s soul there are at least three instincts. Read more…

Enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention

Leaving aside the fact that Syria is not a party to this convention, just how do you enforce such a convention?

We are still being told that “something must be done“.

John Kerry (US) Secretary of State said (my emboldening): Read more…

Striking Syria (or something must be done …)

There is an image in the Channel 4 News library of a man kneeling at the feet of a shrouded body, his face pressed against the shins of what is probably a dead relative, his shoulders gently shaking. (Coverage of the chemical weapons attack in Syria, August 2013)

Channel 4 News (Wednesday 28 August 2013) was challenging General Lord Dannatt that the UK “Cannot stand idly by”. Others have been saying “something must be done”.

“Something must be done” is in itself a dangerous phrase  – It is what is being said in a different context about Bovine TB (see earlier post). It is dangerous because it appears to justify a “thrashing out” – for the sake of “doing something”. The phrase however is more properly “something must be done “; it is the ellipsis that is the key element. Read more…

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