Changing policy in the Middle East?

One of the possible attractions of a Trump presidency is a change for the better in policy towards the Middle East.

Mr Obama was disappointing. He promised a new approach based on diplomacy and peace seeking, only to revert to a clumsy and often ineffectual strategy of military intervention. He promised withdrawal of troops but settled for increasing military activity for a limited period. His time in office was characterised by reluctant interventions, prevarications, and issuing threats which he did not carry out. It made a bad situation worse. He came to see Russia as an adversary, but lost out  to Russia when it came to influencing events particularly in Syria.

Mr Trump has suggested doing business with Russia, accepting the power reality that Russia has important regional allies in the area and has a strong military presence in  Syria buttressed by Iran. It would be good if these two main powers could come to some agreement about what is best for Syria and the other troubled countries, and worked together to assist regional powers in returning more parts of the middle East to peace. Until talking takes over from bombing we will face an ever plentiful supply of refugees and migrants seeking a bettter life. In turn the loss of talent from these countries will make achieving  eventual economic recovery when peace is established that much more difficult.

 

Mr Trump’ s strategy of developing more US domestic energy will make the US less concerned about the energy resources of the region and place him in a stronger position globally. I hope he will take advice to help reduce the arms race and the splitting of countries like Syria into ever more violent factions. We have had years of the war on terror, years of arming various groups that might become extreme themselves or might end up in alliance with or subjugated by extremists. Supplying more and more weapons and training  to more and more groups has not worked. Trying to find the perfect democratic model for government has often led to a breakdown in law and order instead.

 

It does look as if Mr Trump wants to effect major change in much of what US government does. He should start  by looking at policy towards the middle East, which has been so unsuccessful for the last decade. The UK too should understand the tectonic plates of world politics are shifting, and should reappraise its stance on Syria and the wider Middle east.

 

 

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85 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Indeed U.K. and U.S. policy in the Middle East has been a disaster in the Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clinton, Bush, Obama years, given their absurd approach this was rather predictable.

    • Hope
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Wait until the EU defense and security policy kicks in and the U.K. is part of it, even though we voted to leave May sand Fallon signed us up last month as part of the Lisbon Treaty! Johnson must have been ware. No letter to leave submitted after six months but signing the U.K. up to more EU! A bargaining chip given away for nothing while they shun her weeks later at their meeting. May is a total embarrassment and she shames the U.K.

    • Javelin
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Disaster for whom.?

      It’s gone very nicely for the Saudis so far.

      In fact if it wasn’t for Trump winning the Saudis would have (influenced?ed) the Clinton Presidency.

      If you look at Obama’s last minute West Bank UN vote you can see he has favoured Sunni Muslims in the south of Israel and done nothing for Shia Muslims in the north of the country.

      Kerry is delivering a pro Saudi speech today as well.

      Both Kerry and Obama will be paid handsomely via donations and speaker fees over the next 10 years just like Blair has done.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink
    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I rather doubt it under Mrs Theresa (we have control of our borders in the EU through Schengen children!) May. Even if she now wants to properly leave (which I rather doubt) I do not think she is up to doing the job anyway.

      • Hope
        Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Bear in mind it was May who signed the UK up the European Arrest Warrant when there was absolutely no need. It was nothing to do with our security whatsoever, that was pure spin and lies. It wa and example of incrementally tying the U.K. To the proposed EU superstate making each country the same. Throwing away the rights of U.K. Citizens to be locked up in some East European jail for years without trail! All under the spin and guise of improving security and safety! Presumably this is why she is getting Vince Cable’s spin master back in Number 10 to turn reality into fiction.
        JR, you and other like minded souls who want to leave the U.K. better wake up and take action. The first step being to oust May and build a cabinet on the public wish to leave the EU. It is becoming clear she is slowing trying to keep us in EU and spin we have left. A bit like Cameron’s promise of EVEL or right to recall or that he would not pay the extra demand of £1.7 billion to the EU and then paid £2.9 billion!

        The scary thing is she is giving away military and intelligence over to the EU, implemented the snooper charter to monitor ordinary people, suppressed free speech and made it easier to claim we are extremists for not having lefty liberal views like her!

  3. Prigger
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    One gets the distinct impression President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin understand full well Donald’s rhetoric.
    Only hours ago Putin was asked in passing by a journalist if he would consider visiting Donald for talks and he replied with an affable smile: “Yes, of course if he asks me!”

    Donald’s daughter Ivanka has a luxury jewelry business in Beijing and spends quite a bit of time there running it. Donald too has commercial property in mainland China so the Chinese administration know him inside out. Of course President Xi Jinping has actually lived in America in an American family home as a young student.
    If anyone can calm the Middle East down it will be Donald. He personally knows many of the major actors there.
    So, Donald can get away with saying quite alot where other US Presidents would risk an international incident by saying a fraction as much.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Is Teresa going to stop hiding being the curtains and finally say and do something sensible in the new year? Brexit mean a red white and blue Brexit, going on about the “Jams”, gender pay exporting and workers on company boards (plus admittedly sensible Grammar schools proposals it that she will be unable to deliver does) not count. It is just rather misguided and pathetic.

    Will Hammond break free of the appalling rut that the economic illiterate, Osborne has put the UK into in hos March budget. So far he seems like a puppet still dancing to the hugely damaging Osborne/treasury tune, the over “tax borrow and piss down the drain” agenda. Brexit will not be real if Hammond, May and Carney types remain in control. They are even continuing with all the greencrap, over expensive energy agenda, yet more red tape and white elephant projects.

    The more I see of May and Hammond the more annoyed with Gove and his pointless knifing of Borris I become. May is proving to be a dithering disaster so far, she is not a leader, she is not a real Conservative.

    • zorro
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Almost Gordon Brown in a dress in the dithering stakes?

      zorro

      • Hope
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        LL, she is not dithering she is deliberately delaying to give us EU light. Why would she sign us up for more EU, why have Europhile civil servants in key positions when our vote was to leave and the opposite of what they hold dear?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Gender pay “reporting” sorry.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–I am as disappointed as you but , First, she appears to be at least adequately popular with the electorate, which counts for something (Imagine what having Corbyn as PM might be like) and, Secondly, it is not all her fault because most of the fault (over and above Gove’s hardly believable treachery) lies in the perfectly idiotic system that the Conservatives now have for electing a leader (think Cameron while we are at it). I hold no brief for Catholicism and the College of Cardinals, far from it, but if senior Conservatives had been locked in a room there would have been no chance whatsoever of the absurd result of a Remainer becoming leader. And what with Ed Miliband’s daft changes to Labour’s system, is it any wonder that the Commons and the Party system are so badly thought of?

      • Prigger
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Leslie!
        “she (Mrs May ) appears to be at least adequately popular with the electorate..”

        We do not know if Mrs May is adequately popular, First, how many know she is PM? By the name, and told she is a celebrity, quite a few could think she is married to a popular rock star. Corbyn probably only knows who she is now and then when he is in an appropriate mood and has had his breakfast. Don’t ask him who he is though unless he is wearing his Harry Worth jacket with his name printed on the inside pocket in indelible mini-truth diversity ink.

        • Hope
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Trump is already. Rink g about change at Obama promised 8 years previously and failed to deliver. Lots of non politico appointments. This is what we need. The Westminster swamp draining. They will not do it for themselves, they will not have idependent policing on their substandard behaviour. Therefore the first step to change is the tick in the box at the ballot for a Nigel or a Paul. Certainly not for career politicians, their offspring or cronies. The Lords were far better when it was heriditary (I was against the system then). The cronies system of people like Blaire and Cameron is far worse and rotten to its core. Some of whom standing aside temporarily to fulfill their careers. If you like the enoblement being an add on pension top up to the taxpayer. Disgusting. The Lords need to be scrapped and start again. The othe simply not capable, being g a hair stylist for the wife is not a good reason. It is simply corruption of taxpayers’money.

  5. E.S Tablishment
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    For an ordinary British person who has met and spoken with people from various areas in the Middle East , government policy is disconcerting. He may have met them as neighbours, workmates, fellow students, teachers, or as a soldier, been served by them in a takeaway ,off-licence, restaurant or shop. He could have easily met them down the pub.

    Government policy and the reality of our own people do not marry up. Having to listen to the pompous bomber-Harris brigade in parliament would be funny if adapted in a Dads Army scene or its forerunner The Army Game with Bootsie and Snudge.

    Usually it’s youth who speak of something as being “Surreal”. It is good our young people are not born with an old head on their shoulders. Knowing and having experienced what we have, they would be petrified by the words of the bomber-boys in Parliament. They are like something out of the Stargate TV Sci-fi show. Unbelievable modernity. Medieval barbarian warlords with advanced technical weaponry.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Dear E.S–First, do you not have a middle name? I refer to the lack of a dot. On this important subject are you aware that Harry S Truman never put a dot after his S because he had no middle name–he was just ‘S’. Secondly, I agree with you that The Army Game was much better and it is one of the puzzles of life that we get no repeats yet get tons on Dad’s Army.

      • E.S Tablishment
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Dear Leslie Singleton- You make an important point. Though you are speaking of American English and maybe of modern British English. But in proper English, at least in the wisdom of my teachers at the time, it would have been obligatory to put a dot after both E and S. The reason I did not put a dot after S was and is because I am a rebel. Also because in the context of these Comments, I needed to differentiate, simply, between myself E.S Tablishment and my sister E.S.Tablishment. You see my father wanted a boy. My sister was born first. British. The E and S were not initials for anything at all. She decided to use dots, full-stops quite correctly after E and S. I was born, my mother deserted me before I was baptised. My father was determined I should have the initials E and S too. Frankly my sister E.S. Tablishment writes rubbish on here. I merely drop the dot ( full-stop ) after S to make it perfectly and obviously clear I am not my sister. Also I try my best not to wear dresses.
        As regards lack of repeats of the Army Game. Those were different times. Well, many old footages are missing. The language would not conform to the murderous levels of pc we have now. I noticed in this connection a couple of days ago Mr Mannering saying something to a mixed gender audience of equivalence to ” Everyone must do their duty.” It was filmed and acted in our pc time. The Army Game..any actor..whether speaking to a single gender, male or female or indeed a mixed audience would have said “Every MAN must do HIS duty.” That would have been grammatically correct and socially acceptable as MAN and HIS in that context included WOMAN and HER. Of course this is a mild example of the possible differences, I should leave it to your imagination what other phrases and references could have been made which today because of stupidity would be regarded as non-pc and offensive to the professionally offended.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Dear E.S–Man embraces woman as they used to say

  6. formula57
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    A Trump-Putin Pact of some sort might turn out to be a tonic for everyone but the chances of such an outcome must be slim of course, given the many complexities.

    If North Africa is included too, we might give thought to the expected by some forthcoming civil war in Algeria and in particular how and where the resulting millions of refugee migrants are to be housed and otherwise resourced.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    What on Earth is the daft as a brush Justin Welby on about? With his – The mood of uncertainty and division in Britain and around the world at the end of 2016 show that “our values are in the wrong place, the events of the last year as ushering in “a different kind of world” which is more uncertain and “feels more awash with fear and division”. He then urges people to find new meaning and hope through “faith” in uncertain times.

    Is not irrational “faith” rather more the source of most of the divisions and violence? Why are so many in positions of power in the U.K. such dire, half brained “BBC think”, pro EU, anti-democratic lefties?

    As Farage says just ignore the man and have a good Christmas.

    After all anyone can put on fancy purple robes, a mitre, crook, cope and ring and call themselves the most reverent, right honourable archbishop and primate of all England. But is is still totally misguided and hugely damaging lefty drivel, despite all the fancy dress. No wonder the C of E is in such decline.

    • Prigger
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is one up on Welby with a tellytubby cross stuck out of the top of his mitre. Welby obviously hasn’t spotted it yet or no doubt he would want one. Before we know it all his bishops would want one too, then where would we be?

      • rose
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        It is always interesting seeing what the skeleton BBC staff come up with on Christmas morning, in the slot usually reserved for Today or Sunday. Will it be leftwing slapstick or the Christmas Oratorio? This year the Moslems won hands down. We had a Moslem presenter and were told an uplifting tale of Hassan of London and his Partridge. Later we were introduced to another Moslem lady who told us about Maryam as she appears in the Koran. We were told all Christians in the Middle East call God “Allah”. Finally, we were told about the Prophets. Most important of all we were told that “None of these Prophets is the Son of God.”

        Another novel item was the appearance this morning, Boxing Day, of a gentleman described as the ex Governor of the Bank of England. This gentleman, by the name of Mervyn King, told us we would be better off out of the EU, better off out of the Single Market, and that there were many exciting opportunities awaiting us. He urged us to be optimistic! Stranger still, this appearance was summarised accurately several times later in the day.

  8. The Great Ear
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “Changing policy in the Middle East?”

    It would be a delight if the UK government did not have a Middle East policy. People would take them seriously then. Instead, MPs behave as though Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five was the sole text book through their entire schooling,as the basis of the debates. TV viewers can see them all crushed up on benches, sat on the floor crossed legged with latecomers stood peeking over one another, like jostling at the school tuck shop.Somewhere in the middle there’s a Susan, Dick or Harry, having got out their quarter pound of sweets and put them on the table to be shared out with the surrounding street gang, plus a couple of marbles and a catapult. They then try to act and talk like grown ups and moan and moan on about how everyone in the world has adventures but not them and how ” something should be done to set matters straight!” to general applause. Pippin of the wibble party usually says something too which grates on the ear due to its sneaky squeakiness.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Dear Gr8 Ear–Personally I have never understood what the Balfour Declaration was all about–caused a lot of the problems best I can tell.

      • The Great Ear
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Leslie Singleton……

        I have heard of the Balfour Declaration. I search the internet daily for Declarations of Egyptian or Syrian statesmen on Wales and Scotland not to mention Ulster. It seems to me Mrs Sturgeon may have picked up on something foreign and should have adult authority over what she reads.

        • APL
          Posted December 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          The Great Ear: “Declarations of Egyptian or Syrian statesmen on Wales and Scotland not to mention Ulster.”

          The name of the authority you are searching for is Ottoman.

          Fortunately, for us. We were not under the heel of the Ottomans. When their empire collapsed, we picked up the pieces and carved out Israel for the Jews, as ( the western powers ) carved out Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, etc.

          Pretty damn generous, I think.

  9. David Cockburn
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    A stream of refugees arriving in Europe, weakening its cohesion and disrupting the established order, might well suit Russia. Putin would surely prefer to have weak states on his borders rather than a strong and united NATO steadily attracting new recruits.

    • zorro
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Is this the Putin has been controlling the crackpot US/UK foreign policy in the ME over the last 20 years (even before he got into power) to destabilise it and Europe so that he control everything argument? Has he personally been hacking the US president/UK PM brains in the Spitting Image mode of the President’s brain is missing? If so, we need to know ?!!

      zorro

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Putin may prefer to have “weak states on his borders” but not if it means he is surrounded by a state riven by civil wars where the indegenous population is fighting for its survival against pre-enlightenment and tribal newcomers.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Also we have, Simon Stevens CEO of NHS England urging families to make a fresh start in their eating habits as he revealed plans for the health service to put 50,000 people on a diet.

    It is more like 30 million that need to I suspect but I assume this is main to distract attention from the thousands killed by the dysfunctional, inefficient, rationed and grossly incompetent NHS over which he presides. It never can work as currently structured they need to charge at the point of use and make the money follow the patients. If directors of companies are sent to jail (when one of their trucks brakes fail) then why no similar action for the far more numerous, more predictable and moreserious case of the NHS? Because it is state sector one assumes so it does not seem to matter.

    • Hope
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      If you work in the US you provide your own health care, when the Anericans fly their flag they do not consider it would upset immigrants or be racist. The looney liberals left has taken over the public service.

  11. Cpt Mannering
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The less the USA and Britain are there: the more peace. People in the Middle East are quite capable of murdering one another without our help. It says so in the Holy Bible. More importantly, in the Daily Telegraph.

  12. Nig l
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Interesting that at the end of Obama’s presidency, the US abstained on the UN vote re Israeli settlements indicating to me that is what he wanted to do but was constrained by home politics. This should be a big step in removing the sore that is the Palestinian diaspora, by curbing Israel’s expansionist policies into Palestinian lands and giving back the occupied territories at the same time, guaranteeing Israel’s security, possibly to include non military or buffer zones, policed independently, say by the UN for a period of time to enable a meaningful and lasting political solution to be found. This would take away the terrorist groups, excuse for their continuing action against a sovereign state.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      What a silly post. The Palestinians will never leave Israel in peace. If the occupied territories were given back the Arabs would continue to lob rockets into Israel.
      It’s time our foreign aid stopped subsidising the Palastinians and then they may try to build a functioning state instead of one large refugee camp.

  13. norman
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    How blessed we are to have Elizabeth as Queen! It’s as if every word of the national anthem as a prayer has been honoured, and with it, a blessing upon her people. Looking at the whole presentation of Her Majesty’s speech, it’s very clear to me why it’s appropriate for Britain to stand alone as a sovereign nation. One life, well-lived, can make such a difference. And when you think about it, in Her Majesty’s case, every one of her subjects has benefited. We have so much to be thankful for. Oh, that it could continue! The fact that it’s continued for so long is a great mercy, but is merely the unseen threshold to something far better:
    “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
    ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
    And he replied:
    ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
    That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’
    So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
    And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gate_of_the_Year

  14. Mark B
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I think we are well overdue a change in US foreign policy. The Cold War is long over and new challenges now face us which will need the cooperation of Russia and others. Into this, and post BREXIT (pray God) the UK will be free to influence matters globally and not to have to adopt the common EU position.

  15. Hope
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Julian Thompson in article today highlights Fallon and May authorizing the U.K. to sign up to EU military integration meaning military and intelligence sharing which will undermine NATO. The spending controlled by the EU. This was signed last month- why JR?

    This clearly ndermines any negotiation with the EU and they went further to assure the U.K. Would not stand in the way of the EU defense plans! Have Fallon and May lost leave of their senses, have no idea how to negotiate or are simply selling out our country to stay as close as possible to EU? How is this Brexit means Brexit? Or a red white and blue Brexit. It seems to me a yellow cowardly Brexit and lying to the public. I suppose this lie will be spun under close cooperation with the EU on security? We did not vote leave for this sort of underhand behaviour from May and Fallon.

    • zorro
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Probably a combination of all those points. Unfortunately, she does not have the credibility (dithering remainer aka submarine May) or ability to implement our exit from the EU and push forward a confident, independent vision for the future UK….

      zorro

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      @Hope

      Have Fallon and May lost leave of their senses, have no idea how to negotiate or are simply selling out our country to stay as close as possible to EU?

      Afraid so, correct on all three counts.

      • rose
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        I expect the civil servants told them they had to. So they did.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Did Fallon and May ever have their senses?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Hope,

      A hundred years ago the UK played multiple interest multiple hands in middle east negotiations, and the ME still has not recovered. That the UK now plays multiple interest multiple hands with the EU (following the Brexit vote) is no surprise – a hundred years of no learning, that even more grammar schools won’t solve. Hopefully the outcome of this approach to the EU won’t be as tragic.

  16. Newmania
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Trump is undermining NATO threating trade war with China and, just for fun, doing a little Nuclear sabre rattling on twitter. He came to power by opposing Liberal assumptions on gender equality, race, gay rights and promising fraudulent protectionist solutions to post-industrial problems .
    He is a bad thing but compared to Putin he is Abraham Lincoln . Big picture; any encouragement to a military adventurer on our doorstep with designs on god knows what old Soviet satellite states ( now happily in the EU) is a bad thing . This might seems little stretched to you; it does not to them.
    I don`t know what game JR is playing here. Perhaps this a Christmas jolly in which you take some utterly indefensible idea, liking Trump , cosying up to Putin and discover some ingenious argumentation by which it can be defended.
    Might work a little better in Syria …. .One point. Boris Johnson – lying buffoon but his hair is nice Two Points . Plunging currency -helps exports. Three points .
    John wins a portion of figgy pudding.

    Well done

    • zorro
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, you sound a little rattled? Getting a little hot around the collar? It all makes sense to me…… Trump’s tweet was perfectly consistent with his previous positions on defence and deterrence. It is good to know that you feel a little uncomfortable, hopefully it might shake you out of unoriginal thinking…

      zorro

      • Newmania
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        It may be that I am the only Conservative who comments here, I wouldn’t be surprised , at all events I do not share your assumption that originality is in itself a good thing . Ceterus Paribus it is to be avoided .

        • zorro
          Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          All things being equal, originality in thinking or creativity is what moves society forward and improves things. Are you anti-innovation too ?? The EU really would love you!

          zorro

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        My friends in USA who are Republican say Trump’s ghastly (and all their friends think the same). That’s he got serious personality problems and in no way should be President of America. Many well-educated Republicans think the same. Unfortunately Mr Trump was able to con less well-educated Americans, using classic salesman techniques to win them over. He couldn’t give a monkeys about the USA (or the United Kingdom for that matter). All he cares about is fulfilling a childish grab for attention combined with power.

        Btw, i’m not judging the man personally, but in his capacity as President of the USA. He’s bad news and the sooner people realise, the better.

        • zorro
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Let’s take a rain check on that, and have a wider perspective iver time. You do realise that he won the election and is entitled to form an administration even if you are not keen on him ?

          zorro

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            You’re absolutely right. We must do our best to work with President-elect Trump. But just not be fooled into adopting his approach. The reality is, he doesn’t give a monkeys about the USA, the United Kingdom or YOU!

        • rose
          Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          The cleverest and most scholarly New York American I know is over the moon about what he calls “The Donald’s amazing victory”. My Californian friends, all academic scientists but nothing like as bright as he, were for Mrs Clinton – though not enthusiastically.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            I’m no Democrat. I’m a Republican, in particular, strong support of the type of Republican George Bush Sr represents.

            But Trump … Please. The guy’s bonkers. He needs help.

          • rose
            Posted December 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            I suppose it is a question of making a rational rather than an emotional choice. One’s emotional feelings about a politician may pull one one way, and one’s rational judgements about his policies, his team, and the other side’s policies and team, the other.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            @Rose,

            Both rationally and emotionally i think Trump as a politician is ghastly and bonkers. (As do many Republicans in the US).

        • APL
          Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          Ed Mahony: “That’s he got serious personality problems and in no way should be President of America.”

          Ed Mahony: ” i’m not judging the man personally, ”

          No, I can see that.

          BTW, almost anyone who is as driven as Trump has shown himself to be, by many accounts he is a work-alcoholic. Is probably an asset.

          From my distant vantage his personality defects include; determination, resilience and surprisingly, social intelligence.

          So far he seems to be advocating a rapprochement with Russia, avoiding an unnecessary confrontation with them over the largely empty desert Syria, which in my opinion is a better option that Clinton’s declared intent to confront them militarily. Russia is already there – at the invitation of the sovereign state of Syria – and to impose a ‘no fly zone’ would involve directly opposing Russian armed forces’.

          But no peace prize for this incoming PotUS.

          The buffoon now leaving that office has destroyed the fragile peace in Iraq, actually destroyed Libya – provoking the refugee crisis in Europe – and has been attempting to destroy a legally recognized state Syria.

          Let’s see if Trump can do better? He’d have to be quite determined to do worse.

          As an aside, I’d be interested Ed, if you could list any head of state that doesn’t have one or other ‘personality problem’?

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            APL,

            ‘No, I can see that’ – We’re entitled to make judgements about people in their capacity as a political leader. No doubt, you would or anyone else would whether it be Hitler or Stalin or Gandhi or Mandela.

            ‘many accounts he is a work-alcoholic’ – being a work-alcholic in itself is neither good or bad. What makes hard work good is the type of work you’re doing.

            ‘From my distant vantage his personality defects include; determination, resilience and surprisingly, social intelligence’ – he treats women with a kind of sociopathic contempt.

            ‘which in my opinion is a better option that Clinton’s declared intent to confront them militarily’ – I’m a Republican not a Democrat. Although if i had to vote for one, i would have voted for Clinton over Trump.

            ‘The buffoon now leaving that office has destroyed the fragile peace in Iraq, actually destroyed Libya – provoking the refugee crisis in Europe – and has been attempting to destroy a legally recognized state Syria’ – the whole mess in the Middle East finds its origins originally in the disastrous Iraq War (the follow up making it disastrous – with no plan in place).

            ‘As an aside, I’d be interested Ed, if you could list any head of state that doesn’t have one or other ‘personality problem’?’

            – Fair point. But that doesn’t justify voting someone with an even worse personality disorder than most.
            And giving Trump the keys to all the power in the White House is only going to make his personality disorder worse, not better, not forgetting all the damage he can do with that power.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            Also, i hate feminism, and know some really annoying women (and other women i really love), but to treat women with the contempt Trump shows them in the comments he makes is one of the things that really puts me off him in his capacity to be leader of the USA.

            I mean women account for over 50% of the population. And they obviously play a key role along with men in our country, including the nurturing and bringing up of children. If Trump objectifies them as sex objects than how is he going to objectify other people he has differences with?

          • APL
            Posted December 28, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

            Ed Mahony: “We’re entitled to make judgements about people in their capacity as a political leader.”

            Yes of course, but you are now at variance with your own prior assertion; ‘ i’m not judging the man personally, ‘.

            Ed Manony: “– he treats women with a kind of sociopathic contempt.”

            Another assertion supported by nothing other than hearsay.

            But ,suppose it’s true. How do you know that women don’t like treatment that isn’t obsequious?

            Over the years Trump seems to have had willing access to a quality selection. Those having made the so far unsupported accusations, maybe they are just ‘pissed’ they didn’t measure up, and win the marrage jackpot. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

            Ed Mahony: “Also, i hate feminism, ”

            Here we go again.

            Ed Mahony: ” If Trump objectifies them as sex objects ”

            Ed, I find the internal dissonance of your remarks too great to spend too much time with, and your quoting style makes it difficult to read your posts.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Lack of (emotional) empathy doesn’t equal lack of conscience. There are, no doubt, saints in Heaven who were sociopaths (lacking emotions / emotional empathy) but who had conscience and intellectual empathy.
      (the word sociopath has become a derogative word when it shouldn’t, and i wasn’t trying to insult Mr Trump – just that he’s probably a sociopath which can be a challenge and something to be concerned simply because of the type of life he’s led).

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      “any encouragement to a military adventurer on our doorstep with designs on god knows what old Soviet satellite states ( now happily in the EU)”

      There are two sides to that, of course. One side might view it as EU/NATO expansionism right into Russia’s strategic and geographical buffer zone.

      I thank God Clinton didn’t win and and also thank God that we voted Brexit for this reason, that conflict may be averted.

      The liberal ‘assumptions’ of course, pre-date the Brexit and Trump rebellions.

      They started it.

  17. forthurst
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “The UK… should reappraise its stance on Syria and the wider Middle east.”

    Peter Ford, our ex-Ambassador to Syria has accused the Foreign Office of lying. Ex-politican CMD lied to the HoC about Assad’s use of chemical weapons to get us embroiled as principals in the Syrian war, after which the Foreign Office began funding anti-Assad, pro-terrorist propaganda outfits such as the Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office to groom British public opinion. As to Alan Duncan’s recent ‘evidence’ to the Foreign Affairs Select committee, we can hope it wasn’t proffered under oath. The British government should recognise that if it cannot buttress its foreign policy without pathological lying, then it has a policy in actuality that is unsaleable and undesirable.

    Trump has made some sensible comments about his predecessors wars, so much so that the Foreign Office decided they would have to dispatch a task force to ‘educate’ his transition team; Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his fine words before assuming office; it transpired that that was undeserved in practice. Whether Trump can match his fine words with deeds and against the US foreign policy establishment which in requiring Assad’s removal, matches seemlessly with the perceived interest of his avowed friend, Israel, remains to be seen, because Assad is the only man who has the potential to preside over a peaceful Syria; all the alternatives are pure baloney leading inevitably to more conflict, a Libyan scenario, and endless streams of refugees heading our way.

    The people of Aleppo have been liberated from terrorist rule with scenes of celbration and a seasonal Christmas tree; however, it is not at all clear that the Sunnis in Mosul want to be ‘liberated’ by the Shia government.

    • zorro
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully, the BBC has got round to showing the Christmas tree ? in Aleppo….

      zorro

  18. Peter Stroud
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Obama has been a most disappointing president. He made it clear, long before he was elected, that he subscribed to the ridiculously overplayed man made global warming doctrine. He then went on to ‘purify’ the USA regarding its contribution to climate change by effectively destroying its heavy industrial base. Clearly Clinton intended to continue along this track, and no doubt this contributed to her unexpected defeat. Now, at least it looks as if the US as voted for a man who has some common sense.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Peter. Today the letters between Trump and Salmond (turbine King) have been disclosed and they are pathetic on the part of Salmond who clearly does not understand economics or competition or even his own governments planning legislation.

      Bring it on Trump! It’s high time someone took the renewable energy crooks to task and high time the Conservative government actually did something useful in this regard. Get rid of all subsidies and get fracking and build more clean coal and gas stations.. If we are all supposed to be using electric vehicles and electric boilers and cookers by 2015 we are going to need a secure energy infrastructure which is something we don’t have now. With the stupid decisions May is making I am sure glad I renewed my UKIP membership. We need more people in government making decisions like yourself John. Just how you manage not to let rip in the HOC’s is beyond me.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Dear fedup–I am with you on Clean Coal (and I favour experimental Lagoons) and to Hades with what various assorted bean counters have to say. I don’t believe in the Magic Money Tree but I also don’t believe (I am an FCA for what that’s worth) that bean counting has the ability to effect a proper comparison with the joys of Nuclear from France (and China), Gas from Russia, Wood Chips from Canada and God only knows what from God only knows where–everything except our unlimited reserves of Coal (with, BTW, the Power Stations and all the infrastructure such as railway lines already in place).

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      @ Peter Stroud

      Well said Peter quite correct as you did not need a degree in urban guerrilla warfare to see the path he was taking.

      It is time for Mother Teresa to start getting into the real world over all about most everything. Head of a government with a £1.7 trillion she needs to start with the repeal of all the Climate Change and Green Crap, removal of all subsidies, back of the hand incentives and 95% of our Foreign Aid as it can do more good over here.
      The only thing that will get this country out of debt will be our industrial base (whats left of it) anything that can make our industries more efficient like cheaper energy production costs must be implemented much sooner than later. It is not rocket science to add up all the vehicles on our roads including all heavy transport and construction plant to see what infrastructure will be needed to keep all the batteries charged. It will make the FA cup final half time surge look like a 20w light bulb. That does not take into account all the everyday domestic loads.

      President elect Trump is at least trying to make things happen. Cannot see any of our ministers threaten to cancel a contract like the F35 on cost overrun or the presidential aircraft if we had one. The days of playing with a soft ball are over push has gone to shove and if Mother Teresa cannot hack it, stand down and lets get a prime minister and cabinet with vision, no fear and above all belief in this country. Time to sign on or ship out

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and the UK desperately needs cheap energy rather than the greencrap exaggeration religion too. Alas we have May, Amber Rudd, Hammond and lots of other Libdim art graduates who have not a clue about science, energy engineering, working in the competitive sector or anything else very much.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic. Just stop at “who don’t have a clue”. That just about sums it all up!!

    • APL
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “that he subscribed to the ridiculously overplayed man made global warming doctrine.”

      Related: Just look up the history of Solyndra. The Solar energy company that was the poster child of the new energy paradigm.

      etc ed

      • APL
        Posted December 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        JR: “etc ed”

        Funny.

        (I do not have time to research the allegations against this company and do not intend to post allegations without back up ed)

  19. zorro
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    John, good piece which I agree with overall. There are a number of chickens coming home to roost with regards to US/UK foreign policy certainly. You mention a number of factors involved here, involving covert supply and shipment of arms to nebulous groups who enforce the neo-con agenda under the cloak of religious extremism……

    To be honest, UK and US policy has been shameful with regards to the many civilian deaths caused by conflicts instigated by the Western powers. Only time will tell what fate will befall upon them…..

    Aleppo has typified this sorry tale. We have had the US and UK governments and pliant MSM sources going on endlessly about the humanitarian catastrophe within Aleppo and how a ceasefire was necessary to preserve civilian lives or help extricate coalition intelligence officers (delete as appropriate). What a charade as they have recently read out the names of those foreign nationals who were captured in Aleppo.

    Also, this morning we hear that they have discovered mass graves in Eastern Aleppo which was under the control of the jihadis/’moderate democratic opposition’ for the last four years….. Let us see what happens then and who has been involved and directing this activity. Hopefully, a lot of guilty people will not be having a merry Xmas this year with the worry of what might catch up with them….. and no, we won’t support WW3 with Russia to bail you out!

    zorro

  20. Bert Young
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Obama was a bad mistake for the USA and the world ; his administration of home and foreign affairs lacked vision and commitment . Trump has yet to play his cards – there is a difference between rhetoric and action .

    The world has suffered from the problems in the middle east for more years than I can remember ( and that’s quite a few ! ) ; the division between the tribes and the dominance of the oil from the region has clouded judgements . Russia has always maintained its friendship with the Assad regime and made its presence felt ; The USA has always supported Israel ; these two factions are where the change in outside interest lies . The tribal factions there are beyond me .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      ‘Obama was a bad mistake for the USA and the world ; his administration of home and foreign affairs lacked vision and commitment’

      – George Bush Junior’s Iraq War lacked commitment. And so the war has been a disaster for America and the Middle East. Obama has been trying to fix the USA’s reputation abroad. And if it hadn’t been for the Iraq war, he probably would have intervened in Syria. And if it hadn’t been for the Tony Blair and his role in the Iraq War, no doubt, we in the UK would have intervened in Syria as well.

      My issue with Obaba has been much of his immoral social liberalism.

      (Regarding, the economy, there are bigger problems at hand than any Democrat or Republican President can easily fix and that is the problem of the rise of China in manufacturing and the advancement of technology putting many people out of work or good jobs, as well as living in the aftermath of the crash of 2008 that could easily have ended up in a terrible economic depression).

  21. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    With Trump its likely more likely who you know than quite what you know. He uses Twitter to sense the edge of a subject..”staking out the far edge” I note. Its a useful tactic to get the tw*ttersphere and allied buttercups flapping. As a result they cannot fathom the substance and Trump remains in the moderate space – they are at the extremes as usual.

    Common sense I’d say, but the full awakening of that is yet to come. M. East will have to brick lay its own way out of mass destruction…plenty of workers in waiting around Europe. If such people like to fight the police in Europe how come they won’t fight ISIS et al? Answer is soft headed European leadership…and they’ll pay dearly for it!

  22. Original Richard
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Whilst we are still at war with ISIS, returning British jihadists should be seen as what they are, namely enemy fighters, and as such should be incarcerated as POWs until hostilities cease.

    They should not be free to live in our society.

  23. Married mind-dead
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Politicos of certain hues have traditionally blamed Religion for wars in the Middle East. Well it may be an unfortunate coincidence you have an almighty quarrel with your spouse just after a visitation from on high by your mother-in-law. There may in fact be no causal relationship whatsoever. None we can prove. But we all know the truth don’t we.

  24. ian
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    This is all down to the british voters and who they voted for to enter parliament, if you think you will see anything from coming out of the eu like money, forget it, and they can still vote for eu laws even after coming out of the eu, in other words they can adopt eu laws, maybe the british people should fined some better people to vote for instead of just voting for what put in front of you, maybe you should vet them yourself instead of just voting because they belong to a party you like, if you keep voting for them the out come will stay the same,

  25. zorro
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Related topic……

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/747259/NATO-Auditor-General-is-found-shot-dead-in-suspicious-circumstances

    I wonder if he had proof of who had really funded and directed the terrorists?

    zorro

  26. The Herald of 2017
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    New Year’s Aspirations

    1/ The return to at least the level of free-speech we had under Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

    2/ The repeal of all laws and conduct-influencing pc rhetoric relating to the above evidenced when David Blunkett was Home Secretary
    3/ The complete dismantling of all religious schools and study centres including C of E
    4/ The end of tax-payers money given to all religious denominations for the upkeep of Cathedrals and Churches unless those entities cease to be used for religious purposes.
    5/ Marriages where that is recognised for legal/tax purposes to be banned in religious institutions and groups. ( of course they can continue to marry who they like within the terms of their own beliefs and faiths ). But it should be emphasised lest it be misunderstood and made political capital of by notably the LibDems who lack all Value, that no-one’s God should work for the Inland Revenue and other evil-doers.

    • APL
      Posted December 28, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      The Herald of 2017: “The return to at least the level of free-speech we had under Prime Minister Harold Wilson”

      First step, de-fund all the NGO’s and charities that suck off the government teat.

      Most of them are simply ciphers for Marxist ideology. Those that aren’t are candidates to be taken over by Marxist ideologues.

  27. getahead
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I could never understand the stupidity of the UK backing terrorists against a moderate and largely benevolent Syrian president. I do not believe the bad press, ie claims that he used poison gas against hi own people, that our favourite media broadcast.

    • getahead
      Posted December 26, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      his

  28. Mick
    Posted December 26, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    A lot off topic
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/747327/Tim-Farron-Liberal-Democrats-Paris-migrants-child-refugees-asylum-seekers
    This is why the world is in the state it is because of muppets like this, thank God the UK saw the light and voted to leave the dreaded eu and all the pc tree hugging liberal leftists views that as made us scared of our own shadows, well for me The tide change on June 23th and a new beginning were muppets like Tim what’s name, clogg ,millipede ,Clark ,sour puss ,Blair, hesiltine ,are all confidend to the Dustin of not important anymore ,
    SO GET USE TO IT WE ARE LEAVING, END OF

    • rose
      Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      “Why do they want to come to the UK? Because of Britain’s reputation as a place of peace and security and tranquility. ”

      How on earth do these madmen think GB is going top stay peaceful, secure, and tranquil with them doing their damnedest to bring it to a state of anarchy and civil war?

  29. Adam
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    These refugees or migrants are in fact illegals. Advocates of illegal immigration have taken to using refugees and migration to cover for it. The rights of legals have been all but forgotten in favour of those who pay smugglers to take them.

  30. Antisthenes
    Posted December 27, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Accepting power realities, power broking, making alliances and pitting one foe against another is a tried and tested method of foreign policy used throughout the ages. With mixed success but always an important machination for gaining leverage and advantage. It is dependent on the resolve and competence of the practitioner how effectively. It appears we in the West have lacked both for some time. Partly because of the calibre of our leaders and because democracy does not lend itself to pragmatic and expedient solutions. We know Obama lacked the competence and the resolve but because he played on the ethical he was not hampered by politics.

    So Trump even if he has the competence which is at this time an unknown he will be hampered by political realities. So his resolve may be hampered by that and so his efforts may become ineffectual. He will be hampered not just domestically but by USA’s friends and allies as they are more in tune with Obama’s policies than they will be with Trumps. Especially as he and his policies have been condemned even before they have been tried.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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