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Sep 06 2013

The pettiness of international politics

Poor David Cameron. Apparently Britain’s prime minister is smarting from the fact that parliament’s refusal to give him authority to wage war on Syria has resulted in him being at the receiving end of petty indignities at the G20 summit, being treated like just another person there, rather than reflecting in the aura of being president Obama’s BFF. Nobody seems to care anymore about what he thinks about anything.

To make it worse, Obama has snubbed him by not meeting with him one-on-one, instead choosing to do so with that ‘cheese-eating surrender monkey’, French president Francois Hollande. So much for the ‘special relationship’ with the US that the UK likes to boast about. Cameron is discovering what he should have known all along, that the US cares about you only if you are useful to it and do exactly what it tells you. If you fail for whatever reason, it does not care for excuses but summarily gets rid of you, somewhat like the way a gang boss deals with his hit men.

Then there are reports that Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson had referred to his country as “a small island no one pays any attention to”. Cameron had the bad judgment to rise to the bait and respond by listing his country’s achievements, which always makes one look weaker and pettier than if one simply ignores such jibes. It is better to shrug them off, implying that they are beneath contempt.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    Shorter Cameron: “They don’t call us ‘perfidious albion’ for NOTHING!”

  2. 2
    tbrandt

    Slightly off-topic, but Mano, please urge your readers to contact their congress(wo)men to express their views on bombing Syria. This is one case where e-mails and phone calls can really make a difference. The vote in the house, in particular, is shaping up to be very interesting, with intensive lobbying from all sides.

  3. 3
    lorn

    In my opinion David Cameron might, might have, benefit/ed from holding his head high and delivering a speech along the lines of:

    ‘in a nation of democratic institutions we place a tremendous burden upon the public to manifest its collective wisdom through its selection of representatives and by communication with its representatives. The people have made their voices heard by their representatives and have informed me through those representatives that they do not wish to participate in any military actions within Syria. Without any immediately pressing national interest, nor any mechanism by which an attack of any reasonable scope might benefit the national interest, I have declined to participate in any offensive action in Syria.’

    In effect this puts the decision back into the hands of the the people who will pay for any fight in any conflict, the citizens.

    If also would suggest this option to Obama to make a similar speech. Obama, if I’m reading the situation correctly, doesn’t really want to intervene, and he might very well welcome a populist reason to avoid doing what he really doesn’t want to do. A gracious acceptance and compliance with the public will might win him some points and greatly confuse his opponents.

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