What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A former conservative leader tries to conserve

In The Times Online Iain Duncan Smith (former Tory leader) has come up with an article telling readers: "Don't leave Iraq: Quit Afghanistan instead." I have an instinctive answer to suggestions like that, but I actually kind of like that when someone takes up the challenge to try and, using rational arguments, convince me, as well as people in general, of something that seems wrong, in the sense of countering whatever is claimed to be self-evident at a point in time, and I admire those who then point to arguments I never would have thought of.
I have no problem with Smith' saying that Germany and France should commit troops to fight the Taliban, although a reference to the UK's past efforts in Iraq is probably not a wise strategy to persuade them. And I don't doubt that "to show (about al-Qaida - P.M.) it can be beaten would send shockwaves around the world." (Although waves of shock and awe are perhaps not exactly what we are looking for...)
But to say that "It is strange that, at the moment General Petraeus is demonstrating that the surge in US forces is yielding results in Baghdad and beyond, the British seem to quit the field. It sends all the wrong signals to the insurgents and Iran," well... I never knew Britain was fighting al-Qaida in Southern Iraq. Or even a strategically united force which includes as an integral part of it Iran and al-Qaida, grown together as Siamese twins.
This article deserves the dramatic prairie dog look from my part, and, talking about it, here it is:

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