Sunday, January 25, 2004

Jack Straw made a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, placing him at the forefront of the centrist consensus on foreign policy in 2004. His speech made the following points, all echoes of the social-democratic approach to globalisation:

The existing international diplomatic framework on political and economic co-operation, of which the European Union is a prime example, is threatened by terrorism.

Disease, famine and other non-traditional threats to security need to be countered.

Democracy, the rule of law, and foreign investment should all be encouraged (though no mention of property rights).

The Blair administration is probably the last bastion of Clintonism on the planet. When the commentariat in the United States cheer Blair on, the vast Right Wing Conspiracy is (un)knowingly acknowledging that their former president, whilst shifty and vacillating, was more inclined to take military action than his current counterparts in the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton taught his wife to be a hawk.

Straw and Blair still defend the Iraq war as a defence of transnationalism, peddling the restrictions on trade that the Democrats hobbled the Seattle round with in order to assuage Hampstead consciences:

A safer, more just world offers business the best conditions for lasting success. By setting high standards of social responsibility and transparent conduct, companies can help reinforce those standards in the countries where they operate, both for governments and for the local businesses with which they work.

One example of this is the UN Global Compact, through which companies sign up to a set of basic principles on human rights, labour and the environment. Another is the ethical trading initiatives which exist in many countries including the UK, aimed at improving the conditions for workers in the global supply chain and helping consumers choose a product which conforms to minimum standards.

The United States has understood. The old alliance has been converted into castrati that hit a high note with article 5, but did not have the balls to actually do anything. If they can make ad-hoc coalitions to achieve diplomatic goals, there is no reason why this freedom of action should be monopolised by the sole superpower. As long as we remain wedded to NATO, EU and the whole commitment of transnationalism, we will not be able to act in our own national interest. We must emulate the United States of America, free ourselves of historical obstacles and adopt Palmerstonian solutions.

The "special relationship", NATO, the European Union, the Anglosphere and the Commonwealth are all Chinese ships that deserve to be sunk.

(00.13, 24th January 2003)


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