Thursday, 15 January 2009

Milliband moderates his tone

Apparently, terrorism is not a "simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil" and the "implied... belief [this lead to] that the correct response to the terrorist threat was primarily a military one - to track down and kill a hardcore of extremists" is flawed, according to a new speech from David Miliband.

I'm glad our Foreign Secretary recognises that "terrorism is a deadly tactic, not an institution or an ideology," but he failed to say that lasting resolution is only found in political solutions.

Although he is expected to emphasise 'international cooperation' he appears to offer no new thinking on any means to settle disputes. Perhaps such humility is a welcome change after recent years, but I think it is short-sighted.

Just as terrorism is a wrong-headed and often illegitimate means of expressing some legitimate grievance, difference of opinion is not something which can be simply brushed aside.

So when it comes to negotiating for global agreements on issues like poverty, disease, the environment, humanitarian or natural disasters, or even inter-national disputes, to win over the larger players requires a different method than for a diffuse array of armed multi-national, sub-national or non-national groups. It is not enough to win either hearts or minds - you must secure both.

If there is no successful method of integrating all nations into the international democratic architecture so that consensus in UN Security Council resolutions come by unanimity, rather than with abstentions (as recently was seen in the 14-0 vote on UN Resolution 1860) then the capacity for defiance will be ongoing, the needless death toll will mount and liberty will continue to be crushed in an unending and increasingly futile search for global security.

It is essential that the concert is maintained or it is inevitable that disharmony will encroach.

Miliband may well therefore be sowing the seeds of the next big war right under our noses.

Update: It seems this speech hasn't gone down so well with it's immediate audience, so is it another tilt at the leadership?


Alix said...

Been meaning to welcome you to the land of blog. Welcome! And not "pleased to get you off my back", silly primate, but delighted that your measured tones will now be serving to perhaps counteract a little of the squealing on all sides.

Now, when I looked at Milliband six to eight months ago, I thought, "Fixed on the top spot" like a guided missile. Then Mandy came back. Since then it has been my private conviction that Mandy will destroy him by the end of the summer. So with any luck he won't get the chance to be blandly careless about the causes of terrorism and relationship between extremism and inadequate politics for much longer.

On another topic, I suspect that from idiosyncrasies of tone and language that "Anon" on the latest LDV spat is none other than the late lamented Clegg's Candid Friend. Am I alone in this supposition?

Oranjepan said...

Thanks Alix,
being called measured (esp from you) makes me blush - how can you automatically know the weak spot of someone you've never met? I do try, but sometimes I'm just too damn opinionated and outspoken.

Don't we all like to squeal occasionally? (Gu-gug - I also considered taking the name Goofy)

You may wish to look at the update I've just found - Miliband appears to have caused some upset in India, so he's not quite the diplomat... there's definitely personal ambition laced into the speech.

Is anon the late CCF? I originally thought so which is why I kicked off, but I get the impression of a slightly different voice - maybe his/her thoughts are evolving...

On a side note I'd be flattered if you would contribute any suggestions on potential future postings - I'm always looking for extra direction.

And I know I shouldn't ask, but your writing style deserves to find itself in a book form - so..?

Oranjepan said...

On second thoughts I'm glad I decided against being goofy...