Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dancing with the devil

Eliza Manningham-Buller may be an apt sounding name as a former head of spies but she knows a thing or two about security and terrorism http://liten.be//LcOBH.

She poses some interesting questions. I believe it is right to have careful and guarded dialogue with terrorist organisations as I am not convinced that spiralling violence and war with unseen enemies is a either a civilised or sensible way to solve our differences. She rightly cites Northern Ireland as a 'success' story in using this strategy. She also points to Nelson Mandela and the ANC who used violence to attack the oppressive Apartheid regime in South Africa - we regaled him as a hero afterwards. Rightly so.

But should we aid and abet Dictators just so that we keep them where we want? Especially if we know that they are evil and oppressive to ether own people? She refers to Gadaffi and says it was right to motivate him to disband his nuclear weapon program and that made us safer. But by supporting him the way we did we ensured he had at least another 8 years to oppress his people.

What sticks in the craw is not so much keeping people where we want them. It was the sycophantic way in which politicians like Blair, Brown and Straw sidled up to him and became his 'best mate' so that we could get a share of the action on oil. It appeared not be about the safety of the world but getting snouts in troughs. Which is much like the overthrow of Iraq - another dictatorship the West supported at times and then attacked, as we are doing to Gadaffi now.

The strategy is clearly one that works in many instances but, by God, does it really make me gag to see smiling faces shaking the hands of murderers as Blair did to Gadaffi, Rumsfeld did to Hussein and Thatcher did to Pinochet. They tell us they are people of conviction but I can't believe that. It takes a malleable mind to double deal with killers. 

I'm all for forgiving but you have to be convinced that people have really renounced their old ways. What Gadaffi proved to us all was that he had only one aim and that was to extend his stay in power and he would do anything to keep that. The only thing that had changed was that his ambitions to expand had abated. Dealing with the West suited him and he knew he could control us as he had assets we wanted.

People far more intelligent than me will, I dare say, argue that we need to dance with devil in order to defeat him but I have to say events of the past few months have left me in no doubts that politicians are not to be trusted.

So what's the answer? Was Brown and his chums right to deal with Gadaffi and send home his bomber for a victorious reception only to see the tide of fate go against their new buddy? Are we right to talk to the Taliban or Al Q'aeda?

I happen to think talking is right. But that doesn't mean to say you have to kiss their backside or love their kids. There is a limit.

I would be interested to know the opinions of others.

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