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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.
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    There's probably more but that's a start right... 

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