Thursday, 24 September 2009

Foreign Policy: Idealism versus Pragmatism
The Times September 24, 2009

Britain is appeasing Iran, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi says

The only Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize accused Britain of ignoring the regime’s savage suppression of opposition in order to safeguard talks on its nuclear programme.

In May 1997 the late Robin Cook as Foreign Secretary in the incoming New Labour government enunciated:-
".. the fourth goal of our foreign policy is to secure the respect of other nations for Britain's contribution to keeping the peace of the world and promoting democracy around the world. The Labour Government does not accept that political values can be left behind when we check in our passports to travel on diplomatic business. Our foreign policy must have an ethical dimension and must support the demands of other peoples for the democratic rights on which we insist for ourselves. The Labour Government will put human rights at the heart of our foreign policy and will publish an annual report on our work in promoting human rights abroad."

Searching the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website does provide an update from the current incumbent David Miliband in interview with David Frost:-
DF: ".. Robin Cook used to say those words that he probably regretted saying but he said that there should be a more ethical foreign policy, do you agree with him on that?"
DM: "Well a foreign policy without values is not a foreign policy that’s worth having."

NuLab's record hardly positions UK as an exemplified leader in this area; one can only work to encourage the next government to be more principled.

"A Conservative Government's approach to foreign affairs will be based on liberal Conservative principles.
Liberal, because Britain must be open and engaged with the world, supporting human rights and championing the cause of democracy and the rule of law at every opportunity. But Conservative, because our policy must be hard-headed and practical, dealing with the world as it is and not as we wish it were."

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