Posts Tagged ‘soft power’

Ed’s not going to take down Gaddafi with a sustained blast of the Reith lectures

01/03/2011, 07:00:52 AM

by Dan Hodges

Libya has turned into the first international crisis of David Cameron’s premiership. And he’s flunked it. When an ash cloud stranded thousands of British holidaymakers, the previous government deployed the Royal Navy. With the Middle East aflame, and hundreds of British workers in peril, this government turned to the heavy metal band, Iron Maiden.  Bruce Dickinson, the group’s lead singer, is also marketing director and chief pilot of charter airline, Astraeus, one of the first to land at Tripoli to begin a belated evacuation. The RAF heroes of 633 squadron have been pensioned off for the heroes of flight 666.

At times like this, there is frequently a populist rush to judgment. “Something must be done”, goes the cry, even though operational and political realities make the situation far more difficult and complex. This is not one of those times. Ministers had sufficient warning of the spreading unrest in the region in general, and Libya in particular, yet they clearly had no coherent strategy in place for the evacuation of British nationals.

In fact, it is amazing that there appear to be no settled contingency plans for the rapid deployment of military or other assets to remove our citizens from areas of potential instability. It doesn’t need a doctorate in international relations to tell you that Colonel Gaddafi is a fruit cake with the potential to tip his country into chaos at the drop of a pair of his designer shades. Surely one of our chaps in the FCO should have twigged that a guy who calls himself “the Brotherly Leader and Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” is worth keeping a wary eye on. (more…)

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