RISK OF A NEW WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST
29 September 2009
Contrary to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, I believe the west is right to confront the Iranian regime, regardless of Israel's nuclear stockpile. The consequences of a nuclear Iran will be terrifying for the world. The country will seek regional dominance, empowering its terrorist allies in Lebanon and Gaza with nuclear technology and sparking an Arab arms race in the Middle East. It is therefore right that the West compels the Islamic Republic to back down. Israeli leaders have not threatened to wipe other Arab or Muslim countries off the map using the blood-curdling, genocidal rhetoric of their enemies.
A REFERENDUM ON EUROPE: WHAT THE SIGNALS MEAN
19 October 2007
You claim in your exposé of EU myths (18 October) that the new European treaty is not the same as the Constitutional treaty of 2005. But this view is at odds with those who framed the actual document. Bertie Ahern commented that the treaty preserved "90 per cent of the original constitution", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the new treaty used "different terminology" without "changing the legal substance" of the Constitution. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing admitted that although the British, Dutch and French wanted no mention of the word "constitution" the new treaty contained "all the key elements of the constitution". How can you continue to peddle the idea that the treaty and constitution are so different when its creators believe otherwise? There is only one reason Gordon Brown remains opposed to a referendum and that is that he knows he will lose it.
BROWN'S 'CONSENSUS' POLITICS LEAVES VOTERS WITH NO CHOICE
05 September 2007
When Gordon Brown offers vague platitudes about "reconnecting to the people" I reach for the sickbag. His attempt to embrace everyone in the nation sounds dreadfully hollow and insincere when he simultaneously denies "the people" a referendum on the EU constitution. But his "politics of consensus" is also nothing but a cynical attempt to crush debate, silence the opposition and devalue the very notion of democracy.
Gordon Brown is not stupid. He knows his majority is small and could dwindle dangerously after another general election. With the Conservatives anxious to present themselves as a genuine centrist force in British politics, Brown's consensual style is all about neutering the opposition for as long as possible.
How sad then that the Tories have fallen into the Brownite trap. By promising to match the Government's spending plans for three years, George Osborne's party is maintaining the high-tax, high-welfare, big-state vision of Gordon Brown. By leaving voters with no choice on the economy, the parties will fuel voter apathy.
REDUCTIONIST EXPLANATION OF ISLAMIC TERROR
12 December 2006
It won’t be long before we get the usual reductionist explanations for this week’s alleged terror plot. No doubt, we will be told that young Muslims are being radicalized by our support for Israel’s actions in Lebanon and what is needed is a courageous shift in foreign policy. Leaving aside the fact that such outrages take months to plan, it is obvious that Israel’s war against Hezbollah is identical to our ongoing battle against Al-Qaida. In both cases, democratic and liberal nations are fighting against a poisonous and racist ideology which seeks to eradicate the Jewish state, remove so called infidels from the Middle East and replace pro Western regimes with theologically fascist dictatorships. Western liberal values, including the separation of church and state, are the prime target for attack. Israel’s war against Hezbollah is our war and we must back any country which is in the front line against this vicious extremism.
KEEP NUCLEAR WEAPONS
05 December 2006
Edward Barrow draws an invalid analogy between nuclear disarmament and abolitionism. The decision to end the slave trade was morally justified but it did not threaten Britain’s survival as an independent nation. But in an increasingly interdependent world, an act of unilateral nuclear disarmament would immeasurably damage our standing in the world, sending the wrong signals to rogue regimes with their own nuclear ambitions. Barrow presumes that if we abolish nuclear weapons, other states will follow our example but this is an act of faith, not political certainty. It is reminiscent of the arguments of high minded idealists in the 1930s, who placed their trust in the League of Nations, rather than expensive rearmament programmes. As it is surely impossible to predict the threats to this country’s interests in coming decades, we should maintain a credible deterrent against aggression for the foreseeable future.
11 June 2006
Baroness Tonge naively argues that Israeli behaviour underlies Osama Bin Laden’s ideology. But what is his ideology? Al Qaeda, formed in 1990 rather than 1967, sought initially to drive US troops out of Saudi Arabia but its ideology barely touched on the question of Palestine. Al Qaeda fanatics have always sought to recreate the Islamic Caliphate based on Sharia Law and the rule of Ayatollahs, expel Western ‘infidels’ and systematically repress non Muslims. It is not the post 1967 occupation that repels Bin Laden but the fact that the Jews have (rightly) attained sovereignty in a part of what is considered the Islamic Empire.
27 January 2006
Hamas' recent electoral triumph arguably represents only a minor shock in Middle Easter politics.
Abu Mazen has clearly failed to bring Hamas under control as he was obliged to do under the 'roadmap.' The new Hamas administration has already indicated that it will continue its campaign of violence rather than seek meaningful dialogue with Israel. For the Israelis, then, there is perhaps little to choose between the two administrations.
Ariel Sharon's Gaza pull out was not part of some imaginary peace process but the limited result of its absence, reflecting a unilateral approach by Israel in the absence of a credible peace partner. Any future territorial changes are likely to be conducted in the same unilateral fashion, rather than through a process of dialogue. Until the Palestinian leadership unequivocally recognises the Jewish state, this is how 'peace' will be conducted.
BLAIR AND POLICE POWERS
10 November 2005
The defeat for Tony Blair (on the proposal for a 90 day period of detention) is both unsurprising and very welcome. By pretending to be the sole champion of the nation’s security and overruling his own more liberal-minded Home Secretary, Blair has once again shown scant regard for parliamentary democracy. He should be reminded that the job of MPs is not to defer to the police or the intelligence services but to balance the demands of security and liberty. Perhaps the government will take note that of the 357 people arrested by the police under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, only 11 have been held for 14 days, all of whom were charged. This hardly provides an intellectual case for such a draconian extension of police powers.
LOCKE ON CONSENT
10 September 2005
Any list of the most influential books should include Locke’s Two Treatises of Government. Locke’s repudiation of the divine right of Kings and his belief in government by consent were controversial ideas in the late seventeenth century. Important too was his doctrine of the natural rights of man, summed up as the right to life, liberty and property. For Locke, no ruler could legitimately govern if those fundamental rights were taken away from those who were governed. These ideas influenced revolutionaries in France and America and his thinking about liberty foreshadowed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
A BI-NATIONAL STATE
16 August 2005
Dr Mikdadi (letters 16th August) says he can live side by side with Israel yet he can happily subscribe to a ‘binational state’. This is not a recipe for ‘all living together’ but for the destruction of Israel. A binational state would mean that while Gaza and the West Bank would be annexed to Israel, all its inhabitants, Arab and Jew, including the Palestinians would have citizenship. While this sounds like an attractive solution, it would mean that within a short time, there would be a majority Arab population and a minority of Jews in the area, given the high Arab birth rate. This would naturally spell the end of Israel as we know it. A binational state is a formula for anti Zionism, the denial to the Jews of their right to self determination while not denying that right to Arab peoples. An eventual two state settlement, with a Palestinian right of return to Palestine, not Israel, is the only viable option in this intractable conflict.
BLAIR AND APPEASEMENT
27 July 2005
After accusing Tony Blair of appeasement, your correspondents have responded rather naively by calling for a policy of withdrawal from Iraq. If 7th July massacres were caused by anger over Iraq, then any pullback of troops would surely represent the most shameful appeasement possible. Such a spineless policy of capitulation would only embolden a new generation of Islamic terrorists who would b tempted to bomb us out of Afghanistan as well. Before contemplating such a feeble policy of capitulation, it is helpful to remember what happened in Spain after the Madrid bombings. After pulling its troops out of Iraq, Spanish police uncovered evidence of further terror plots from Islamic extremists and there is little doubt that the same thing would happen here. The terrorists of 7th July, like those of 9/11, were not political protesters but religious fanatics animated by a deranged cult of death and martyrdom. As Tony Blair has said, there are some ideologies with which there can be no reasonable accommodation.
EXCUSES FOR THE TERROR ATTACKS ON 7TH JULY
12 July 2005
As if the London terror attacks were not bad enough, we now have to live with predictable excuses for them. Apparently, these bombings were inevitable retribution for invading Iraq and failing to create a Palestinian state. Before falling for this seductive nonsense, we must understand that Al Qaida does not seek a two state solution or a stable Iraq. Instead they wish to drive the Jews into the sea, and destroy every moderate, pro Western regime in the Middle East; 9/11 was planned during the Camp David talks that sought a two state settlement in the region. Al-Qaida seeks the -re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate which the Turks abolished in 1924. To do this, it is necessary to drive away the infidel Westerners with their hateful notions of individual freedom, democracy and lifestyle choice. Western civilization, with its separation of church and state, is the prime target for eradication. Those who believe that we can accommodate ourselves to such a warped ideology are simply fooling themselves.
RISK OF A NEW WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST