Thursday, November 12, 2009

What's important to me politically? Wise foreign policy

I don't know if this is the top of my list, but it is important. Really important. We live in a nuclear, globalized world, we're members of the European Union, there are four countries in our nation, and despite (thankfully) no longer being an empire, we're still a major power (politically, economically, culturally and occasionally militarily). We may not be top dog any more (not that that matters) but we're a long way from the bottom. So how our government conducts itself on the world stage is crucial.

Generally, we talk a better game than we deliver something that's true of most governments I suppose. But it wold be nice to think we will deliver sometimes as well. And if we were to deliver, here would be my shopping list.
  • Active lead role in nuclear disarmament (and I mean setting an example)
  • Delivering on our commitments to the UN Millenium Goals 
  • Delivering on our commitments made at Kyoto (and hopefully Copenhagen)
  • Greater leadership to end the European Common Agricultural Policy. It's hard to be for free trade, fair trade or pro-developing countries when Europe spends €50 billion a year on farm subsidies
  • I haven't thought about it too much but I'm generally pro-Europe and think active engagement is a better way forward 
  • Arms dealing is a murky business, it's complicated - and quite often immoral. We sell a lot of arms. We must do better.
  • Since I'm on the subject of weapons - it would be great to have some debate on what is a good use of our armed forces. I generally lean towards pacifism but sometimes we do so badly at diplomacy and the world is sinful that we force can't always be ruled out - In the last 20 years Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone were not unreasonable uses of our military. Few argued even with Afghanistan after 9/11. It's just a shame we didn't use them in Rwanda or Sudan. On the flip side of the coin I'm not sure two wars in Iraq were our finest hour.
    There's probably more but that's a start right... 


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