Mr Cameron Goes To Washington
Mr Cameron has gone to Washington. Have any of you noticed? David Cameron is the new British Prime Minister, and today he is meeting with President Obama in the White House. And while I expect that there has been little media coverage given to the meeting in the United States, it is wall to wall here.
Here is what the two leaders will talk about we have been briefed; Afghanistan, BP and the still controversial Libyan hijacker release. Doubtless there will be other issues covered as well, but here at least and despite the ritualistic nonsense talked about a “special relationship”, the British Prime Minister has very sensibly argued that relations between America and Britain should be based on realism, which for observers of the Trans Atlantic political scene, is a sure sign that Cameron has read the runes well this side of the pond.
Brits like Americans by and large, although they seem to think the Americans think about them an awful lot more than they actually do. Brits particularly like American music, American film, the big hearted generosity of ordinary Americans, American cars, when they used to be big and American and much else besides. But on the whole they do not approve of their Prime Ministers’ forming too close relationships with American Presidents, but this is largely a new development based on Margaret Thatcher’s kinship with Ronald Reagan, and more alarmingly Tony Blair’s support for George Bush’s ruinous wars.
So Cameron has probably got the tone about right. But what about the substance? Over Afghanistan, Britain sent in her army in support of an American foreign policy objective, one that subsequently became a British policy objective too. Loosely it may be summed up as a necessary action designed to stabilise Afghanistan and protect the homeland against terrorism. Except that Afghanistan, nine years after those soldiers were despatched, is not much more stable, and as any fool doth know, the Taliban are not comparable to Al-Qaida and do not pose a terrorist threat to the West. You have to look to the Pakistan, Yemen and Somali badlands for that existential threat. Cameron will have to intimate that the British cannot afford to be in Afghanistan much longer – not only can we literally not afford it, overwhelmingly British public opinion calls for a return home.
Now BP and Libya are of course linked – not least in the mind of the Senators who wish to quiz the British Prime Minister today over BP’s alleged lobbying for the release of the alleged Libyan hijacker of the PanAm flight that was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. As it happens I interviewed Megrahi in Tripoli, Libya nearly fifteen years ago before he was extradited for trial. In common with others at the time I was never entirely persuaded that Megrahi was one of the ringleaders, but be that as it may, his controversial release from a Scottish Jail didn’t happen on David Cameron’s watch – it happened under that of the previous Government.
I don’t blame the Senators for having it in for BP, but the trouble is they risk missing the real target. BP will not have acted alone in lobbying for Megrahi’s release, although clearly it was in the company’s economic interest to do so. They are more likely to have been acting in concert with a British Government that was anxious to open Libya up for business and to relax sanctions. And one of those keenest to improve relations and open Libya up for business was our own multi-millionaire ex PM, Tony Blair.
He is the person the Senators need to be talking to, and if David Cameron has any sense he will advise them accordingly.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.
- Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
- The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
- Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.