Monday, September 30, 2002

Marching Season

150 000 may be less than half than the countryside alliance could muster, but it's one hell of a lot of people.

Think about it. The Stop the War coalition is an unruly mixture of CND, hard left groups and whichever foreigners are being bombed (in this case Muslims). Since the fall of the Berlin Wall they are not the types who usually get large numbers on to the street (with the exceptions of the Muslims). This demonstration succeeded despite the organisers.

One can look at just why the anti-war message is handicapped by its messengers:

"Whatever you think of rural issues, I think it's fair to say that the issues at stake on this march are rather more serious," said Lindsey German, the Stop the War Coalition convenor.

Well, no Ms German. Many of us invasion-sceptics actually think that rural issues, taxation, the domestic economy, whatever, are more important than what goes on beyond our borders. That's why we don't think our government should be involved there - or anywhere it doesn't have to be.

One gets the feeling that most of the organisers and many of the marchers were not protesting at British involvement but America itself. Some of us, I think it is fair to say, think issues at home are more important.
A little article in the Economist about how the European electoral trend is neither left nor right but simply anti-reform. It comes out with a bit of a whopper:

The most striking recent trend has been the rise of populist parties openly hostile to immigration. When Austria's People's Party became the first such party to join a governing coalition, there was outrage across the EU.

Er, the People's Party is a moderate Christian Democrat party while the Freedom Party is the said anti-immigration party that has joined the coalition.


States may be allowed to go bankrupt according to the Telegraph. Who will manage the administration and set the terms? The IMF. Who controls the IMF? The G7.

Imperialism weakened us last time and arguably led us into the First World War. Do we really want to go back to bailing out countries that can't run themselves?

Here's a solution. Withdraw from the IMF.
Sunday, September 29, 2002
Man recognises Britain does not have independent foreign policy

Matthew Cohen argues that Britain has been "humiliated" because we are conceding that the United States should gain immunity from the International Criminal Court and destroying the European consensus that maintains the fiction that this will do some good.

This does appear to show that casting his hand in with Bush is beginning to steer Blair away from European multilateralism and its attendant freakshow. However, I am not sure if Charybdis is better than Scylla!
Why denigrate 'Interests'?

Now that the midterm elections are beginning to loom in the United States, opponents of the Bush administration have adopted the argument that the 'war on Iraq' has been adopted out of 'interest', particularly for oil. This is an obvious motive and not a bad one. If a country wishes to secure the supply of that commodity which furthers its economic prosperity, this would appear to be a reasonable argument for stating that the war is in the national interest of the United States.

Of course, this is a simplification since energy policy in the US is deeply intertwined with the Bush administration's relationship with the oil companies. Democrats will score valid points by making out how domestic 'interests' structure foreign policy, but their debate prevents many of them from concluding that domestic lobbies and their national interests may complement each other for now.

However, oil remains a secondary factor as the purported war is about security. Wouldn't oil be a far better reason to go to war?
Friday, September 27, 2002

Cunning Charlie

Maybe its what they call a meme, but this article I did on the Tories being irrelevant on the Iraqi war seems to have cropped up in Crofter Kennedy's speech, with all that stuff about Parliamentary silence, and in his speech to Parliament.

Saved by the Tories

First the Countryside March and now the anti-war vote, can the government just keep ignoring dissent?

I forgot, the Tories.

Bush saves the Left

A nice little piece from Chronicles' Srdja Trifkovic on how Bush saved Schroeder. Lesson for Conservatives relying on America: Don't.

Adair Devil

Slugger O'Toole has an interesting set of links to this Johnny Adair feud in Northern Ireland.

La La Land

How Iraq might defeat the mighty U.S.A by Jonathan Power. Personally I think that the Americans will walk through Iraq, but never assume that all wars instantly go well.
Thursday, September 26, 2002

Learn to love the bomb

Boris Johnson waxes sceptical in the Telegraph. There's a lot more in the article than this paragraph, but it makes a point that I've been sporadically making:

If mere possession of weapons of mass destruction were sufficient grounds for an attack, then we would be mustering for action against China (250 nukes), India (10) and several others including Israel (thought to have about 200 warheads).

Weapons of mass destruction don't matter a jot as long as there's no chance of them being aimed at us. And (with the exception of our Cypriot bases) that applies to Iraq.


According to the Torygraph the Iraq dossier has failed to convince the public. Wonder why?

Sadly the CND lot will think that it is all down to their brilliant arguments, when most people simply can't see Iraq as a threat. They've won the argument by not being noticed.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
The War Party and Peace Moves

A website formed by a conservative-libertarian coalition that opposes US imperialism and a beltway establishment that believes it benefits from small(ish) wars. An old site with some additions on the war on Terror.

Wierdly, their English against Bombing link leads to the Huddersfield Committee for Peace in the Balkans. No doubt the Lincoln Interfaith Council for the Voluntary Adoption of Human Shields is mustering its cohorts to fly to Baghdad even now.

There were some volunteers in 1998 at the International Action Centre (a forerunner of Thunderbirds?), although, now that war is looming, they seem less inclined to hold hands along the 14th of July Street (1998 street map of Baghdad on a jpg file).

State of Play

An interesting page on the Guardian web site on the break down of hawks and doves in UK politics.

Africa again

Britain sends troops to the Ivory Coast. Only eight so far, but its best to keep watch.

The Economy, Stupid

Alan Bock asks Will War Wreck the Economy? The American economythat is, although good points on the British economy are made. And look at the potential bribes that he chronicles.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Benefit of War

Remember those worried about Saddam throttling oil production? Oil price rise knocks shares to six-year low.

The Dossier

So they've let us see the dossier on Iraq. It's great to see them being so open about the facts, after all we're going to have a parliamentary debate as many as four hours later.

You can understand why they've kept the cards so close to their chest. Obviously it doesn't answer the question as to how weapons in Iraq have any effect on vital British interests with the exception of the bases in Cyprus - although why he would want to attack them is nowhere explained.

Remember this is the best that the case for war will get.

Irrelevant Duncan Smith

An article of mine has appeared in the Electric Review on the Atlanticist dead end that is the present Tory foreign policy. While you're there check out Christopher Montgomery's article on a similar subject.
Monday, September 23, 2002

Who you calling Hitler?

Jim Henley makes a damn good point,

Isn't it...odd, when people who for months have been calling their skeptics "appeasers" and likening everyone from Saddam Hussein to Yasser Arafat to Adolph Schickelgruber suddenly invoke Godwin's Law when those opponents start tossing in a Hitler reference or two?

Iraq ain't fighting fair

Jaundiced is one of my highest compliments, a compliment that the latest column from Eric Margolis fully deserves. Not that I agree with it all (especially the stuff on Israel), but there is a useful summary of various state's positions at the end.

It didn't happen last time

One of the unspoken assumptions is that this war against Iraq will be as easy as the last one - like the First World War following the Franco-Prussian War. Probably true.

Well now, Israel has said that it will get involved, hence putting us on Israel's side when we are deep in Arab territory. This wasn't the case last time round.
Friday, September 20, 2002
A Political Party that actively supports the national interest

A new political party was launched yesterday supporting an English Parliament, although it has been around since 1999. The English Democrats are rather disappointing, with their statist and sub-Blairite approach to public services ("The money we save on the Barnett Formula will be used to enhance your education and health").

However on foreign policy, they are more solid...

We seek a global system consisting of independent nation-states, each with its own identity, character, and culture. Each state should be free to trade in a way that suits its needs and customs.
We favour special co-operation and links with those states, wherever they may be, which uphold the principles of national self-determination and fair trade. Overseas aid should be provided in furtherance of these ideals and in accordance with the needs of English national interests.
Our history as a maritime trading power has provided us with a unique web of relationships, of which we should make use. We are in a position where we need not be ruled by either Brussels or Washington. We need the self-confidence and will to forge a truly independent foreign policy.

Pity they are not arguing this from inside the Tory party rather than their post-Thatcherite splinters.

Our European Partners

Pro-Europeans are typically civil libertarians. So how will they react to the Greeks arresting video gamers?

Ignore it, like French corruption and German illiberalism.

Over the Pond

"In the National Interest" has an interesting American view on British support for the American position on Iraq. There's also something on the French.

Revenge of the Doves

Charles Kennedy sees an advantage from his dovish stance. I don't see how the Lib Dems can manage this, as the British public simply don't care and left wing Labour voters won't win them Tory target seats (the traditionalist Tory nationalists will be turned off by the Lib Dems Eurofanaticism). However as the Tories blind support of America has made them irrelevant on a defence issue, chatshow Charlie may have a point.

From the Front


Conservative anti-interventionist John Laughland reports from Mosul and says that resistance may be a bit stiffer than we expect.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Europe Duffs up Britain

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has picked up Andrew Duff (draftsman for the Lib Dems on the Convention) clauses on secession and exclaims that they undermine British sovereignty. Surprise!
I know that demos with CND types and Trots can be frustrating, but if anyones interested here's some details for the coming demonstration.

Who's the sick man of Europe now?

More on the German mess,

Taking a constitutional

A disturbing letter to the Times on the implications of any EU constitution.

Will Ireland say NO again?

I personally think that the Irish will vote Yes when the question of Nice is re-put. Not everyone agrees.

Global Police?

Statewatchpoints to secret agreement on criminal matters, investigative procedures and joint teams being negotiated without the the European or national parliaments being consulted.

And they want to look after our money

More on EU corruption.

Woof Woof

Iain Murray prompts me to read "An ally, not a lapdog" by Anatol Lieven. It suggests that America's ignoring us when it comes to things like Steel Tarrifs only to rely on us when it needs international support.

The Anglosphere in a nutshell

Forget the Anglosphere Primer, this bit from Jim Bennet is what the Anglosphere cult is all about:

However, he [Anatol Lieven] is right when he says that sentimental invocations will not maintain the US-British alliance indefinitely. There really do need to be structural mechanisms particular to the Anglosphere to maintain a strong alliance. If we could imagine a formal, aboveground UKUSA structure with a consultative council that would have met already on Iraq and come up with a UKUSA position, it would both have been pretty close to what the US wants and needs, and soemthing that would be a visible demonstration of the UK's position as somehting other than a poodle to the US. It should also have produced some quid pro quos on issues like cooperation against the IRA and against Spanish claims on Gibraltar.

So British foreign policy positions should always and everywhere be made in conjunction with America? Well it makes sense, we will trade (or even pool) sovereignty in exchange for influence. There's another international institution that offers this deal to Britain already, and I can't quite think what it is. Something in Brussels perhaps?
Wednesday, September 18, 2002

It's not just China

German government pressures ISPs to block "offensive" sites. Remember under Corpus Juris we will be letting other Europeans decide on the borderline between free speech and criminal incitement.

Never Knew That

France frees Nazi collaborator, and we always thought that Mitterand was dead.

Problems in paradise

This one slipped under my radar "Germany to abandon euroland? It may yet come down to that
The mainstream anti-war coalition may be full of decent people, but as this piece shows they will fluff their chance.

The strongly Marxist-influenced campaign against the war really can not win this debate. Very few people care for Marxist revolution and will be turned off by neo-Marxist rhetoric like the following:

"I have never seen, to use an old fashioned phrase, the forces of capital as divided about a war as they are about this one. There is no sense of unanimity around this war," she [Dianne Abbott] told the meeting.

They then talk about disrupting traffic and calling transport strikes. Now that's one way to turn the public off.

Then we have this classic:

Sophie Bolt, of London Region CND, warned of the danger of a conflict in Iraq escalating into a nuclear war.

She said CND's top priority was now preventing war in Iraq and "ending the illegal action by Israel against Palestine".

Oh well, I thought that CND was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and not a Palestinian lobby group.

There's a lot of triumphant talk about how the British public are against this war, but there's precious little sign that they understand why.

The Principled UN in action

UN divided over inspections offer says the BBC. More like the veto powers have raised their price.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Why the U.N.? – 17Sep02.

If I were an American hawk, I should be wary of invoking the United Nations in support of my case.

Either Iraq is a threat to America, or she is not. Who is best able to decide: the United Nations, or America herself? If Iraq is a threat to America, what does it matter whether the United Nations says she is not? If Iraq is not a threat to America, what would it matter if the United Nations said she were?

If Security Council resolutions need to be enforced to save the U.N.’s credibility, why are there glaring exceptions? Of course it is better that one resolution should be enforced rather than none; of course the inconsistency per se does no damage to U.S. interests; but expectations are bound to be raised & then disappointed. Is it really in America’s interests to have even more deeply disappointed Arabs in the world? Is it likely to help the “War on Terror”?

Why does the U.N.’s credibility matter? What credibility can an organisation devoted to “human rights” & stuffed full of bloodthirsty dictators & incompetents aspire to anyway? The greater the U.N.’s “credibility”, the greater the credibility of the anti-Western sentiment that preponderates within it. How is that in the interests of the United States?

No doubt America is merely using the U.N. as a convenient fig-leaf to hide her pursuit of her own perceived interests. And that’s fair enough. The attack on Iraq may well be less “destabilising” if it is carried out under the aegis of the U.N., & no doubt it is better for America if it is. But is it good for America to get into the habit of acting in her own most urgent interests only after the United Nations has been conciliated? I have my doubts.

Sometimes, of course, it is necessary to conciliate important countries who have the power to impede America’s pursuit of her interests. But the United Nations has no power. Why not discard the fig-leaf & proclaim to the world, “The most solemn moral duty of the government of the United States is to protect the people of the United States from violent death at the hands of her enemies. That is our priority, & that is what we shall do. If you object, you object; we have the power to silence objectors”?

It would be a bold proclamation; but when we know the safety of our citizens is at stake, we can afford to be bold.

Can’t we?


Whoever wrote this piece for the Scotsman should learn to write what he really thinks and not hold back "Bush plays Caligula while Blair strews his path with rose petals". I do wonder if he objects to the rose pettly strewing that Blair does for the Second Belgian Empire. Like many Eurosceptics, most left wing doves are remarkably one sided in their concern over the loss of British sovereignty.

Belly of the Beast

There's a Private Eye style venture reporting from the inside of Brussels called The Sprout.

However one must point out that they think that Michael Cashman played a gay doctor in East Enders. He did not, he was playing a graphic designer and Labour Party activist (the token Tory activist was a rapist - typically unbiased BBC).

They've let them in

... but don't expect the Iraqi surrender to be an end to the war. Expect the demands to be raised repeatedly until Iraq buckles and refuses entry.
Monday, September 16, 2002
Another Offshore Island

A writer from a small series of islands, facing a hegemonic power across the water, and taking stock of the current countdown towards war. Masamichi Hanabusa, a former diplomat, is chairman of the English- Speaking Union of Japan, and writes an unusual mix of the internationalist arguments heard from the Left, laced with the possible effects of the war upon Japan. He blames American national interests whilst outlining Japan's.


The left wing peaceniks look like they've been outmanoeuvred, again. In what was either an inspired bluff or simple expediency the Blair government has managed to see off the left on Iraq.

But how? Aren't the public against the adventure by more than two to one in Britain and hasn't the running against the war been made by the left?

Well yes and (sadly) yes. One of the things that my regular readers (all four of you) will know is that although we are often bellowing on the sidelines to note our disapproval of the latest hair brained adventure, the various denizens of the British right who make up the Airstrip One community certainly do not share the idealistic temperament of our temporary allies of the left.

So while we share their distaste for Britain backing America in utterly everything she does (although certainly not sharing their dislike of America per se) we find their reliance on the United Nations to be baffling. Well, not baffling we understand why they believe that the UN is important - for the same reason that we understand why they wish to teach the world to sing in perfect har-mo-ny.

However the UN is not a coherent world governing structure, and if it were it would be the sort of nightmare that would make the Second Belgian Empire look like an attractive alternative. The UN is a fig leaf for power politics. Nothing wrong with that in itself - indeed it is far preferable to anything like a global government - however the left do make big fools of themselves when they pin their hopes on the institution.

So what constitutes "UN approval"? Well it isn't the rather preposterous General Assembly where the King of Swaziland has the same vote as the Republic of India. The fifteen member Security Council bestows the mandate of the world community. And of that fifteen members five of them are the Permanent Members who hold the vetoes. They don't like it - they block it. So they have to be paid off.

First there's America. As America tends to put forward most of the bombing proposals these days they really don't need to come on side.

Then there's Britain, and unless you've not been reading this column you'll probably know our opinion of Britain's ability to screw any deal out of America.

Then France. France in the end does as it's told. Maybe she needs some trade deal from it now and again, but in the end she falls in line.

And China. China doesn't really care about anything outside her immediate environs together with a spot of protocol tetchiness that belies their so called Marxism. However a trade deal, or the promise to look the other way when a couple of thousand screaming Tibetans get zapped will often do the job with China when its not her sphere of influence.

So finally we come to Russia. Russia needs money, lots of it. America has money, lots of it. The only thing left is to negotiate the price.

After you've got these guys on side you only need at most three of the others, and their prices are so much lower.

And therein lies the problem with the left wing peaceniks. Like their ostensible oponents at Samizdata they are idealists and anti-nationalists. They sincerely believe that the world can be remade, and they will attach themselves to a foreign power. Of course the UN is not powerful at all, and at least the pro-Americans and pro-Europeans can be said to be devoting their treacherous ardour towards an actually existing power.

So to all the lefties who are still with me, get with the program. Accept that power politics will always exist and cannot be overcome, and that the democratic nation state is the best you'll get. Isolationism is the way to go.

The TV coverage over here may be skewed, but peace demonstrations in America now seem to have adopted the Stars and Stripes after years of barely concealed hate for their homeland. If British demonstrators learn to do the same and start to speak in patriotic tones then people may listen to them, rather than melt into the government's arms when the fighting starts.

Let's stop worrying about the United Nations and start speaking for the United Kingdom.
Sunday, September 15, 2002

No doubt there will be many, influenced by the modern need for a reductionist approach to foreign affairs, that will subscribe to a crude determinism and state the forthcoming war is all about oil. They will be right, in part, as Iraq's crude oil reserves form a huge bargaining chip in the postwar settlement. The reserves are the bribe to France, Russia and China, guaranteeing access in return for acceptance or acquiescence when the UN resolution is introduced to the Security Council.

It is not clear if the United States will be able to capitalise on these huge reserves in the short-term due to the deteriorating infrastructure but Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress leader, has already received his monthly salary for supporting a "US-led consortium" to develop the rundown oilfields.

Security is the key issue for the United States; cheaper oil is one of the perks of the war.
Friday, September 13, 2002

That Speech

Justin Raimondo is jaundiced as ever as he deconstructs the Bush speech. And jaundiced with reason.

Get the votes in

The Economist sees a shift in German Foreign policy - in particular its attitude towards America. The Spectator is more cynical - seeing opposition to war as a remarkably succesful way of increasing the popularity of an unsuccesful left wing administration.


There may be an interesting meeting tonight (Friday) -details here - on the War on Terror. It looks quite amongst the interventionist-libertarians (sic) of Samizdata.
Thursday, September 12, 2002

A Tory MP thinks, shock

Peter Ainsworth dares to speak out against his party's unreflective support for Blair on Iraq:

I was brought up to believe that foreign policy should ultimately be determined by the national interest. If Tony Blair has reason to believe that Iraq is on the point of attacking the United Kingdom, then most people would willingly see the armed forces give him all they’ve got. But most people are not convinced. They wonder why, if Iraq poses such an obvious and immediate threat to stability and security in Europe, the Germans and French are prepared to be so laid-back. They wonder why most of Iraq’s neighbours have not signed up to war, when they did in 1991. They wonder what has changed recently to make an attack inevitable. They wonder why now. And they wonder whether Mr Blair’s stance is determined less by the national interest than by a personal interest in strutting the world stage.

As if the national interest mattered

Iain Murray points to an interesting venture from the American magazine The National Interest, which is still interesting despite departing from the rather raw realism of its early days with Owen Harries. The venture is a weekly online edition called In The National Interest and although it makes the routine genuflections to the realism of its former days, it can really only be noted down as a right of center journal that specialises in foreign affairs. Certainly a good thing, and to be encouraged - but kids this is not the real thing - after all the top item is an interview with the terribly unrealistic Richard Perle while the editor Adam Garfinkle (who merely risks a "tilt toward the realist side") argues that Realists and Neo-conservatives are really just Republicans who have different temperaments towards foreign policy. How this would

It certainly will be watched with interest.

Geopolitics anyone?

A new "European Geopolitical Blog", no less, called The Prism bursts on the scene.

Gabb Again

Another mention of Sean Gabb, this time writing on Why Britain Should not Join in the War against Iraq in which he concludes "If the Americans really want a war with Iraq, let them fight it by themselves, and let them by themselves pay whatever costs it may entail."

Sean is one of the saner voices within British Libertarianism (which is not made up solely of the engaging but wrong neo-conservatives around Samizdata) and this applies especially to his analysis on foreign policy.

One of his more interesting also relates to the somewhat stalled dialogue between myself and David Carr on any role of the war in weakening Europe:

I can think of one other valid reason for war. This is that we have a strong interest in keeping friendly with the Americans. Sooner or later, some mainstream British politician will squeeze together enough courage to argue for withdrawal from the European Union. This argument will be more easily won if there is the alternative open of joining NAFTA. I would prefer withdrawal to be followed by no other connection. To twist the old Socialist Worker slogan, I want neither Brussels nor Washington, but complete national independence. However, domination by the second would be less humiliating and more accountable than by the first. And if we are to keep that option open, perhaps we need to show willing in whatever crusade Mr Bush cares to announce.

The argument against is that there is probably no such need. The Americans encouraged the formation of the European Union back in the days when they wanted a local counterweight to the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe. Those days have passed, and the Americans are now beginning to see the European Union as at least an annoying competitor for world influence. Weakening it, by pulling Britain out, is in their interests regardless of whether we join or fail to join in their war against Iraq. Indeed, for the British Government to take the European line, of neutrality, might bring the weakening of the European Union closer to the top of the American foreign policy agenda.

The Cold War role that led to Britain's acsession to the European Union, and especially in persuading some otherwise sceptical Conservatives and right wing Labour politicians to support it is often overlooked. But that is for another time.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Update on the European Convention

Whereas everybody will be analysing warblogs, Bush's address to the United Nations and the general war towards drift, the new plenary session of the Convention will start tomorrow.

To give a taste of the debate within which our futures are being decided, here is a document arguing for a community model amongst four alternatives - that contains the usual drives towards harmonisation - but recognises that some countries might not wish to join and includes options for abstention and withdrawal.

Or this model of a European Constitution from Andrew Duff, Lib Dem MEP for the East of England, who does not include the term "liberty" in his document and has very stiff terms for withdrawal. Secession is not decided by an individual state but by

Amendments to the Constitution, or the accession or secession of a member state or associate member, will take effect if supported either:

(i) by the Council, acting by a three-quarters majority of the member states, and by the Parliament acting by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, and ratified thereafter by all member states according to their own constitutional requirements; or

(ii) by a referendum of the citizens of the Union, by the Parliament and by the Council.

No longer could individual states vote to end their association with the Union, if this was taken up. There are plenty of other odious examples of this confederal constitutionalism that undermines Britain's sovereignty.

Note that Britain has one member on the Praesidium, German born Gisela Stuart, a Labour Backbencher and former PPS to Paul Boateng, who is chairing the working party on National Parliaments and who would appear to be devoted to making the Union work.

The Convention will result in an approach incompatible with any remaining independent power held by the British Isles.

Gerry goes East

Electric Review is getting better and better. This particular article on Gerald Kaufman's holiday video in Israel is a particularly good example.
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Forgetting our history

Pat Buchanan has a great piece on how the English are fast forgetting our history.

Europe's Coming Round to War

It was only a couple of days ago when I said that when it came down to anything that mattered that Europe would support a war with Iraq. Sure they would scowl for the benefit of a domestic audience but in the end they would obey orders. Now within days France has come round to attacking Iraq.

Expect Germany to find some way to come round to war if Schroeder wins on anti-war rhetoric. They will only come round to war if it makes a difference (as with France's UN veto suddenly becoming more important to the war effort) but if it does make a difference they will come around. The scowling will only continue as long as there is no material effect.

So if one thinks that this war will stop Blair becoming president of the EU (as I thought it would) think again. Blair will remain as Europhile as ever.
Friday, September 06, 2002

Devil or deep blue sea?

David Carr over at Samizdata has tried to make a case for invading Iraq from the national interest. Unlike the leadership of the Conservative Party, or the editorial boards of the Black and Murdoch papers he doesn't come up with some laughable idea like "Saddam's got missiles aimed for London" or "he's another Hitler".

The idea is this. European integration is a more imminent threat to British than American power. Supporting America is going to harm the cause of European integration in Britain.

First let it be said that this is a far better argument than other attempted right wing justifications I have seen (including the other ones in Samizdata). And it rests on a truth. At this point in time European integration is more of a threat to British independence than American power.

Where I disagree is on the effect that an invasion will have on the Euro debate and the absence of alternatives.

Firstly to the absence of alternatives. Mr Carr's thesis rests crucially on the idea that the only alternative to European union is being a junior partner in the American Empire. As a site devoted to maintaining just such an alternative you can expect us to disagree with this idea. But this at least deserves an explanation as to why our national survival is not a lost cause.

Britain is still large, prosperous and powerful enough to maintain itself as an independent state. There is plenty of disagrement as to how powerful the British armed forces are. What cannot be doubted is that they would be powerful enough to protect the rather defendable British Isles from invasion. As the world's fourth largest economy she is also capable of paying her way in the world. All that would be needed in normal times is to avoid unnecesary foreign entanglements and Britain, or for that matter England, could maintain an independent existence into the foreseeable future.

I'm not sure whether Mr Carr disagrees with this, although many of his Anglospherist colleagues need a reminder of this reality. However, where Mr Carr does disagree is on the political reality.

However the question is not whether Britain can survive outside both the American and Belgian Empires, it is about the political day to day reality. So my second disagreement with Mr Carr's political thesis comes out.

What would the effect of the war be on the European question?

The idea is that Tony Blair will not be President of Europe while he is so keen on kow towing to the President of America.

It is certainly true that the war is unpopular in Europe, as can be seen from Chancellor Schroeder's return from the political grave. This is a German chancellor who has presided over a perceived increase in prices, and a left wing leader who's presided over a very real increase in unnemployment. By all political laws the man should be politically brown bread. He is however still in with a shout very largely down to his opposition to the war. (Of course you can't expect the denizens of Conservative Central Office to notice something so vulgar as representing the popular will. This however is a private gripe.)

However what was the issue with which Herr Schroeder barn stormed the country last time? Why a scepticism towards the Euro. And M Jospin in France before him. The lesson here is that the European leaders will not do what they are told by the electorate, but what they are told to do by their peers. When it comes to the war the Europeans will do nothing but sulk on the sidelines. There'll be no UN vetoes from France and no blocking of our Tone to be President of Europe. My initial reaction was admittedly that Tony's Presidential chances were gone, but this was over-estimating the attachment to the popular will in Europe, or the guts to carry out a meaningfully independent foreign policy.

So where will this leave us with the Euro debate. Well, if there is popular enthusiasm for the war then it may not make the government more popular, or even Tony Blair, but people will start to respect him once again. As it is Tony Blair's power of persuasion that is the only thing that could lead us into the Euro, is our entry into the Euro more or less likely?

And if the British public dislike the war or its aftermath, what then? Will the British feel repulsed from their European neighbours? There is a danger of creating a genuine popular desire for Europe.

So British entry into the war is a lose-lose proposition for those who wish to maintain Britain's financial independence.

Of course, there may be a bright spot here. If the Labour revolt grows then Mr Blair's position as Labour leader may be under threat. The biggest threat to British independence is adoption of the Euro, and it's biggest proponent is Mr Blair. So the war could help us with the Euro.

One would say that the downside, overstretch of British forces and involvement in a Middle Eastern argument that is none of our business, is far more likely than any upside envisaged by myself or Mr Carr.

Death of an Empire

Sean Gabb thinks that the American Empire is done for.

Tory Splits. None Dead

Maybe its a sign of irrelevance, but why has the latest Tory split not been more widely repored. Why, the split on Iraq of course. If you were one of the millions (billions if looking worldwide) who did not see BBC's Newsnight, then you wouldn't have seen the intriguing piece on IDS's natives getting restless.

But they were. I must admit to not taking any notes, expecting the story to be on the internet today - so apologies for the vagueness of this report. First off was Francis Maude. I just remember him saying something about it being ill thought out and how we shouldn't be giving knee jerk support to the Yanks, I can't quite remember why it was so. I know that Frank has a reputation for being a nasty piece of work (and considering that this is a reputation gained from within the confines of the Conservative party, the chap has really earned his spurs) but I have a soft spot for him. He actually admitted that in Kosovo "no direct British interest was involved". A couple of his staff actually subscribed to my column in my days on I am fairly sure that this situation does not apply to Michael Ancram's office.

Next was Steve Norris, for whom I have no soft spot. He was talking about us needing to get the the holy writ of support from the United Nations. Of course I think that anything to do with the UN is rot and needs to be firmly dispensed with.

There were also interspersed whisperings from various "senior figures" who did not wished to be named saying that the Party shouldn't be so gung ho and unthinkingly supportive of either Labour or America.

Of course the fact is that Mr Maude and Mr Norris are both loyal spear carriers for the usually reliably pro-American Michael Portillo, so I don't have a clue what the internal machinations of this are.

No mention of this so far, apart from one entry in a discussion page. Any other sightings, or recollections of this piece will be greatly appreciated. That's the sort of thing the comments box is for.
Thursday, September 05, 2002

The Blairites are coming out

Another Blairite comes ripping out of the closet. This time it's the rabidly Tory Peter Briffa (although he has kept his Blairism the strict confines of foreign policy). Who's next?

The point is, however, a serious one. Although there tends to be no appreciable Falklands effect with the wider electorate - there does seem to be with the chattering (or blogging) classes. If the Conservatives keep on merely repeating what the Labour Party is saying but assuring the electorate that "we'll bomb em harder" they'll become an irrelevance. Those who strongly support the war will go to the Labour Party, those who strongly oppose the war will go to the Lib Dems.

The Tories will be irrelevant on the issue of defence. Like Law and Order and the economy before.

Of course the Conservatives could go back to their roots and talk about a British foreign policy that looks to British interests before those of America or Europe. Sceptical questions could be directed towards the overstretch of British forces. And who knows, people may think that the Tories have something interesting to say.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Competing Treacheries

So the Tories have this magic formula on the war. They'll back it so hard that they'll enrage the anti-war tendency within the Government. And then... well what?

The fact is that war is opposed by the majority in this country will presumably be dismissed as mere populism. Opposing (or advocating) a war on the grounds of popularity is perhaps not the most honourable course - although with the utter loss of the concept of national interest amongst our political elite one would have to ask just on which basis one should support the war.

A suddenly popular war will still benefit the Labour Party, as demonstrated by Iain Murray's admission of Blairism. All credit will go to the farsighted one. An unpopular war will see the opposition go, if anywhere, to the Liberal Democrats.

Perhaps we are at a situation comparable to 1688, when the political classes where competing in treachery, with a legitimist faction loyal to the servant of the King of France and a parliamentarian faction aiding and abetting the creation of a Dutch vassal state. Of course they dress their their post-patriotism in a messianic belief in either a corporate Europe or an imaginary Anglosphere - however the motive is the same, the wish to subject Britain to a foreign power.

They simply disagree about which one.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Scarier than Hitler, blah, blah, blah

An interesting study as to why Arabs lose wars. And we're supposed to believe that backed by this mighty power that Saddam is going to march on the West and prove to be (cue menacing music) The New Hitler.

Of course what this article makes clear is that Arabs are considerably better at irregular warfare. So we may be able to get in fairly easily, but staying will be a bit more tricky.


That great Kosovo triumph:

Attacks on local non-Albanian ethnic minorities continue at alarming levels, which explains why fewer than 200 of the 230,000 non-Albanian residents of Kosovo driven from the province after 1999 have returned to their homes

Courtesy of Steve Sailer.
Monday, September 02, 2002
Beware False Friends.

There are many reasons for opposing British participation in an American attack on Iraq, but there is only one good one: that it is not in our interests. Although we may for the time being have to join forces with people we normally disagree with, we should not forget that their reasons are different from ours, their motives the kinds of motives that more often than not will lead the adoption of policies inimical to the national interest. Left-wing M.P.s oppose action against Iraq on the grounds that Iraqi civilians may be hurt; generals oppose it because it may be difficult; pacifists oppose it because it will be violent; bien-pensants oppose it because it will be carried out by the West; Arabs oppose it because Iraq is part of the "Muslim world": but we oppose it because it would be an unnecessary waste of resources that would at best be expensive & at worst provoke the very kind of attack it is calculated to prevent. We do not care more for Iraqi civilians than we do for our own people; we do not flinch from difficulty when it stands in the way of what has to be done; we will use violence as a last resort; we are proud to be part of the West; & we are indifferent to Islam & the shifting solidarities of its adherents: but we refuse to put our blood & treasure at risk for the sake of eliminating a non-existent threat. American hawks need to remind themselves of the way they responded the last time they were faced with a real threat, the Soviet Union, armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction: how many of them then were agitating for an invasion of Moscow to secure a "regime change"? Mercifully few, I suspect. If the Iraqi threat were real, the best way to neutralise it would be the current policy of containment & deterrence; if that policy is abandoned, then evidently the threat is chimerical, & we may justly demand why it has been found necessary to invent it.

Words of War

I was going to sneer at Iain Duncan Smith's article alerting us to Saddam's misiles, but Christopher Montgomery, my improvement on (and in a previous life one of IDS's campaign managers) has done it so much better. Was Iain's article ghost written, and did this ghost writer have an, erm, pecuniary relationship with a certain Washington think tank and travel on a passport without the royal crest?

Just wondering.

Mr Montgomery also lays into Michael Gove's ill considered remarks on Iraq. ( I notice I didn't link to the original article before, and here it is).

Deadlines meant that Monty missed this particular gem from Alan Judd. Just to show that the pro-war case is brimming with imagination and originality he titles the case "Appeasement won't stop Saddam, any more than Hitler". Ooh the horror.

After all could you imagine what would have happened if we hadn't gone to war with Hitler? We could have lost our empire, been bankrupted, found a stable and aggressive totalitarian regime in the heart of Europe until at least the 1980s, seen our armed forces becoming mere appendages to the American friendly fire brigades and being drawn inexorably into an undemocratic European empire. Hang on, that's what we got anyway.

Surely the real question is, do the conservative war hawks really mean it or are they simply going through the motions?

The Meaning of Patriotism

Patriotism is love for one's land of birth, or patria. It is not to be confused with mindless support for the government, unquestioning belief in every and any war nor a wish for ever stronger government. This article makes this obvious point from an anarchist perspective.

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