Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardiner has warned National Review readers about the "wobby Gordon Brown", the British Prime Minister's lack of interest in foreign affairs and Britain's inadequate defence budget. Here are some of the problems highlighted within the article:
Retreat from Basra: "The decision to cut troop numbers may have been politically expedient with the prospect of a general election in the air, but it made no sense in military terms, and was a clear invitation to Iran to step into the vacuum left by the British in Basra and southern Iraq."
Mark Malloch-Brown's appointment: "The appointment of the former chief of staff to Kofi Annan was a huge slap in the face for White House, and sent a clear signal that the new Prime Minister was keen to demonstrate a sharp break with the close-knit Bush-Blair partnership. Just days into his new job, the gaffe-prone Malloch Brown gave an outspoken interview to the Telegraph in which he boasted that Britain and America were no longer “joined at the hip” prompting a swift slap down from Foreign Secretary David Miliband. He has also suggested that Britain might negotiate with the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. More recently Malloch Brown has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over his taxpayer-funded grace and favor residence in London, a privilege also given only to the prime minister and the chancellor of the Exchequer in the current cabinet."
Outshone by Sarkozy: "He has been outclassed and outmaneuvered by his closest rival in Europe, the enigmatic French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose recent visit to Washington was a triumph for U.S.-French relations. The French leader delivered a brilliant speech to Congress that drew so many standing ovations that he almost had to blush. While 9 out of 10 Americans probably could not identify the British pPrime minister, a sizeable chunk would know who Sarkozy is."
Inadequate defence spending: "British defense spending must be significantly increased in order to deal with mounting threats to national security. The current spending level of 2.2-percent of GDP is pitifully inadequate, and stands at its lowest level since the 1930s. Realistically, Britain needs to be spending at least 3 to 4 percent of GDP to be able to handle several conflicts at the same time, from Afghanistan, to Africa and the Middle East."
Inadequate commitment to human rights: "Brown must also take a stronger stand on human rights issues, from Darfur to Burma to Zimbabwe, and demonstrate some real British leadership on these matters. The Foreign Office’s decision to send Mark Malloch Brown to the December 8-9 EU-African Union summit in Lisbon, attended by Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, instead of boycotting it altogether, is an act of political cowardice. Downing Street must send a message that there can be no welcome mat in Europe for leaders of odious tyrannies that brutalize and starve their own people. While the Brussels establishment continues to kowtow to despots in the name of diplomacy, Great Britain should refuse to play along."
What about Darfur?: "In addition to pressing for hard-hitting targeted sanctions aimed at the leadership of the Sudanese regime, London should work with Paris in exploring a possible Anglo-French military intervention to halt the genocide in Darfur, as well as building support for the establishment of a NATO-enforced no-fly zone. The West cannot stand by while thousands more innocents are slaughtered or raped by marauding gangs of barbaric militias backed by the al-Bashir regime. The over-hyped U.N. peacekeeping mission has barely got off the ground, and will only contain African Union troops at the insistence of Khartoum, a surefire recipe for inaction and failure."
Related link: Gordon Brown delivers his first foreign policy speech.