Below is an excerpt from UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech which he gave in Kuwait during its independence day celebrations. His speech applauds the history of people’s right to choose and the centripetal force that choice gives to not only local stability in any given Arab state, but to global security. I found his Speak impressive, but wasn’t quickly deluded by it. Cameron was the first foreign leader to visit Egypt after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and he took along with him a delegation of eight weapons manufacturers.
Below, excerpts of Cameron’s speech in Kuwait. Following that will be a BBC article explaining dismay at the delegation of arms traders accompanying Cameron on his Egypt visit, criticizing it as obscene and opportunistic. The UK’s new government does seem to be leading a country with shrinking international political clout, and this move seems to be very much a reflection of the UK’s desperation to hustle back onto the field. Perhaps the lack of a clear cut strategy towards Egypt on part of Britain at the moment also speaks for how powerful the revolution itself is in fact proving to be, and it’s very much up to the youth of the region to take this moment into their hands and continue to fight for the revolutions demands.
Cameron on Feb 22, 2011, Kuwait National Assembly:
“For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk. So, the argument went, countries like Britain faced a choice between our interests and our values. And to be honest, we should acknowledge that sometimes we have made such calculations in the past. But I say that is a false choice.
“As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse. Our interests lie in upholding our values – in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law. But these are not just our values, but the entitlement of people everywhere; of people in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.”
“If people’s hunger for a job and a voice are denied there is a real risk that the frustration and powerlessness people feel and the resulting lack of connection with the way their country is run: can open the way to them being cut off from society or worse drawn to more violent and extremist responses. That’s a problem for the Arab world but it’s a problem for the rest of the world too.
“That’s why I think political and economic reform in the Arab world is not just good in its own right but it’s also a key part of the antidote to the extremism that threatens the security of us all.
“Reform, far from undermining stability is a condition of it.”
Cameron Middle East visit ‘morally obscene’ says Lucas
David Cameron’s recent trip to the Middle East was “morally obscene”, Green MP Caroline Lucas has claimed.
The Green Party leader said Mr Cameron had travelled to the region accompanied by a “delegation of arms traders”.
Nearly a third of businessmen accompanying the PM on his trip to Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman were from the defence or aerospace industry.
The government defended the trade mission and said the UK has among the tightest arms sales rules in the world.
The prime minister became the first world leader to visit Egypt since its former President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office two weeks ago.
He visited Tahrir Square, the focus of the anti-Mubarak protests, and met figures from the pro-democracy movement.
Talking about recent events in the the region at her party’s spring conference, Ms Lucas described the sense of awe she had felt on seeing “hundreds and thousands risk their lives for democracy and the rule of law”.
She said that upon first seeing Mr Cameron in Egypt she believed he was there to “express solidarity with the pro-democracy movement”.
But she said her view changed when she realised that senior executives from defence companies were amongst those participating in the visit.
She talked of the “horrifying reality that [David Cameron] was there, in the Middle East, at a time of such violence and unrest with a delegation of arms traders to sell more arms”.
“The blatant opportunism of this visit is morally obscene,” she told party activists.
In a later interview with the BBC, the Brighton Pavilion MP called the insensitivity of the visit “eye watering” and argued for a return to an “ethical foreign policy”.
Labour also expressed concerns about the timing of the trade mission coming as it did amid violent crackdowns against anti-government protests in Bahrain and Libya.
The Foreign Office revoked a series of export licenses to Bahrain and Libya, covering tear gas and gun components, following violence in both countries.
During the trip, Mr Cameron defended the make-up of the delegation, saying it was legitimate for British firms to be doing business with allies, that the UK had tight rules on arms sales and a properly regulated defence industry was perfectly right and proper.
“Democracies have a right to defend themselves,” he said on Tuesday.
“The idea that Kuwait should not be able to have its own armed forces, that it is unable to defend its own country and take part in defence trade, is an extraordinary argument.”
This article can be found at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12582723
– Love in a Box