The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
Cameron's Failures in War Highlight the Decline in British Leadership
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Critics lament the disintegration of the British political establishment under the impact of repeated shocks from the Brexit earthquake. Competent politicians and experienced civil servants head for the exit or are evicted to make way for more ideologically acceptable successors. Whatever one thought of the members of Theresa May’s final cabinet they were better than the clutch of opportunists and fanatics appointed by Boris Johnson.

The Brexit crisis has become an all-encompassing explanation of all that is wrong with Britain, with many idealising the sunlit uplands where we dwelt before the 2016 referendum. Retired civil service mandarins and politicians recall how everything used to run smoothly and sweetly before the Brexit barbarians stormed the gates and they lost their jobs.

It should be easy enough to check such rosy recollections because many of the retired politicians – if not the mandarins – use their retirement to write memoirs of great length and detail that need to appear swiftly if carefully hoarded nuggets of secret information are to appeal to the reader.

Publishers publicise such books by talking up those revelatory chunks where the author is rude about his successor or exposes the treachery and incompetence of old friends and allies. Editors and reviewers scan the index to see what old scores are being settled. Often ignored in all this, and dismissed as yesterday’s news, is fascinating information about what some powerful figure actually thought and did when he or she was in charge.

David Cameron’s autobiography For The Record is one such recently published volume that is deeply illuminating about how the author, as prime minister, responded to issues of war and peace. As one would expect from his public persona, he is fluent and plausible in describing his role in the wars in Libya and Syria sparked by the Arab Spring, but he is shallow and ill-informed about the forces at play. What comes across is that, like many more openly bellicose political leaders, the mild-mannered Cameron liked playing general and did so with enthusiastic but wrongheaded amateurism.

Cameron recalls with pride his role in the bombing of Libya in 2011, justifying it on the grounds that Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks and troops were advancing on Benghazi where they would massacre the population. He says that “on 20 March, American, British and French aircraft destroyed Gaddafi’s tanks, armoured carriers and rocket launchers, and his forces began to retreat. Benghazi was saved, and a Srebrenica-style slaughter averted. I’ve never known relief like it.”

There are a few things wrong with this as a description of what happened: a report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee later revealed that the belief that Gaddafi would “massacre the civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence”. It pointed out that Gaddafi had retaken other towns from the rebels and not attacked the civilian population.

Nor was Benghazi saved: drone footage of the city taken recently show that the centre of the city has been destroyed, not by Gaddafi’s soldiers but in the fighting over many years between the militias that overthrew him. Had Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Hillary Clinton not intervened militarily in the Libyan civil war then Benghazi might really have been saved, along with those who were killed and wounded in the long years of fighting that followed foreign intervention.

I was particularly interested in Cameron’s take on the Libyan conflict because, soon after the bombing started, I visited the frontline south of Benghazi where more journalists were visible than rebels. There was the occasional puff of smoke on the horizon when a shell exploded, but otherwise not much fighting going on.

This phoney war did not last long and Cameron explains why: “By May 2011 the war had sunk into stalemate, and needed a renewed focus. I agreed deals with France to commit Apache helicopters to help the rebels. I was on the phone to the leaders of the Gulf states to encourage their continued involvement which turned out to be crucial.”

In other words, Gaddafi was overthrown primarily by foreign powers and not by an indigenous rebellion. It requires considerable naivete on Cameron’s part to imagine that the Gulf states, the last absolute monarchies on earth, planned to replace Gaddafi with a secular democracy.

A dangerous blindness similarly pervades Cameron’s chapter on his frustrated attempts to take military action in Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. He is disappointed that Barack Obama is not as gung-ho as himself and sometime feels that he picks up more information from the members of the Syrian diaspora he runs into than he does from his own diplomats.

He is angered by the action of the House of Commons and Obama in refusing to sanction air strikes in Syria after the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Damascus in August 2013. It becomes clear, however, that he never decided if this was to be a prolonged air campaign in support of the rebels until they were victorious or a slap on the wrist for Assad with a one-off cruise missile attack,which he would certainly have shrugged off, as he was to do when the US did launch such an attack in 2018.

It is worth studying what Cameron did, or thought he was doing in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts, because war reveals a political leader’s level of judgement as does nothing else. There has been much criticism of Cameron’s decision to first hold, and then lose, the referendum on membership of the European Union, but his second-rate attributes as a leader were already evident in his decisions about these two wars.


These failings are not confined to Cameron, but to what used to be called the British ruling class as a whole: its members have a a certain provinciality and sense of superiority that makes it difficult for them to play a weak hand well when negotiating with the EU. Such assumptions blend with inner self-doubt which sees Cameron continually trotting off to see Obama or Vladimir Putin, though this never seems to get him very far.

It is worth reading Cameron’s book to understand his failings since most of the party leaders in the upcoming general election are even worse.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Britain, David Cameron, Libya 
Hide 38 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Virgile says:

    Cameron is a total failure and he knows it. His book is a save face exercise, another failure.

    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas
    , @Herald
  2. Dan Hayes says:

    How did such fools as Cameron at one time manage to lead a successful empire?

  3. orionyx says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Cameron is a fool, an empty suit, no doubt. But he is well within the tradition of British leaders such as Churchill, whose only virtue was to cover up his own defects and take credit for the work of others with sheer bluster.

  4. Svevlad says:

    Did he dedicate a chapter to fucking pigs too?

  5. Anonymous[651] • Disclaimer says:

    Most British people were fully in favour of Cameron and Sarkozy’s destruction of Libya, despite the fact that is what directly lead to the migrant crisis that threatens to destroy Britain and Europe today.

    That’s the problem with British people, they don’t like the inevitable consequences of these wars but at the same time they always back them when their governments and military establishment are banging the war drums, only afterwards do they then concede it was a bad idea. I’m sure it will be exactly the same if the Western elites decide to wage war against Iran or Venezuela.

    • Replies: @Simon in London
  6. Empires have three broad phases: they rise, gain power; once gained power has to be retained; when it is being lost declining empires try to regain it. In the final stage empires seek to re-capture that lost prestige, deluded to the reality of decline. Historically, hegemonic struggles have always resulted in war, often started by an empire in the third, or second, phase. In the last hundred years we have had two world wars. We will have a third if we do not learn to play “a weak hand well”.

  7. Sean says:

    The Cablegate US diplomatic traffic that was released by Wikileaks revealed Gaddafi had become debilitated by age and overindulgence, to the extent he was heaving dependent on his voluptuous Ukrainian nurse. There were clear signs that Gaddafi no longer playing with a full deck as with his speech in Rome where he harangued an audience of hundreds of female Italian models. after which Italian politicians were openly calling him senile. He also demanded several billion to stop the flow of refugees (the Turks are also unwisely using that blackmail). Given that Gaddafi had funded the IRA, the UK was under no obligation whatsoever to support him. Indeed, Cameron merely reciprocated.

    And if he considers Gaddafi a friend of Ireland, Cockburn might consider this : Barr was part of a UDA delegation that made a fund-raising trip to Libya where they met with Muammar Gaddafi. Barr claimed when he returned that Gaddafi, who at the time was funding the Provisional IRA, had expressed a firm interest in providing money for an independent Northern Ireland.[7]

    These failings are not confined to Cameron, but to what used to be called the British ruling class as a whole: its members have a a certain provinciality and sense of superiority that makes it difficult for them to play a weak hand well when negotiating with the EU.

    The mistake of the EU was in not taking Cameron seriously enough over immigration and thinking the concession on EU restraint of Cameron’s (and Boris’s) City pals and their addiction to leveraging would settle everything down. Cameron’s position was strong, inasmuch the fury over an unending tsunami of East European immigrant under EU freedom of movement meant Britain leaving the EU in another referendum (there had been one already in 1975 over the EEC remember) was not all that unlikely. British business was using the immigrants from the EU to hold down wages, so establishment figures saying that business would suffer if Britain left the EU would hardly carry much weight north of Watford. The Poles, aided by their government, were claiming British benefits for children in Poland.

    Germany wants to keep selling China the capital goods it is using to deindustrialize the West, and Europe in particular. They get defended by America/Nato and do not have a hostile state on their borders, while other countries in the single currency area are rendered helpless against Germany’s export promotion program. As Brendan Simms says, the EU is fundamentally weak in comparison to Britain, which is going to sail on. The likely outcome is schismogenesis as the UK responds to EU attempts to punish it. Ireland will not come well out of all this. It could have been avoided if Cameron had been more diplomatic? I doubt it. Being used as the EU’s mulch cow and destination for migrants went on for as long as it could. As always, Conservatives tacked to the political sea change, which is why they are the most successful right wing party in Europe.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
    , @Rev. Spooner
  8. Emmet says:

    Cameron was possibly the worst Prime Minister Britain ever had – and there’s a lot of competition for that distinction. Just another example of the entitled nonentities completely controlled by the globalist oligarchy (mostly Jewish) who are at present destroying what is left of Western Civilization.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Pater
  9. @Sean

    You and Cockburn miss the point: a gold backed African dinar would have scuttled the petrodollar, the pound, and the Euro. Gaddafi losing his marbles? Of course that would be what US diplomatic cables would report.

    • Replies: @Sean
    , @Rev. Spooner
  10. Sean says:

    What nonsense is this? Blair shook hands with Gaddafi. Hillary did with his son. It was the Libyan people who rose up and overthrew him, foreign intervention merley negated the governments heavy weapons.The disadvantage of a gold standard is it hampers economic growth, which is power. John Law had more or less worked that out several hundred years ago. The US currency is like their bankruptcy laws designed to encourage economic growth. Of course the bankruptcy laws can make it too easy to bilk creditors, just as a so called fiat currency can be over leveraged. The idea that a small primitive country like Libya who were trying to shake down West European governments for billions in return for halting the flow of refugees were a threat to the international financial system is preposterous.

    He had been behaving strangely for a while. The American diplomats said he seemed more than a little dependant on his Ukrainian nurse, and this only came out because of Wikileaks. Blame Assange.

    It was Italians opposition politicians who called him senile and said he was not a leader Italy should continue have close links to because of a bizarre speech he made in Rome. An Italian doctors said Gaddafi underwent plastic surgery in his 50s because he looked a decade older. The man looked as if he was indulging every appetite and addiction drugs, alcohol and sex.

    Anyway, Gaddafi sent weapons to the IRA. Libyan Semtex was uses for several bomb massacres , including blowing up the hotel where many British leader were staying during the annual Conservative conference. Was Gaddafi expecting a pat on the back for almost 40 years of backing and supplying murder gangs in the UK? Live by the sword… and you will come to a very sticky end, as he did.

  11. Sean says:

    The establishment was 95% against Brexit and if Jews control the establishment it seems to follow that Jews were not happy about Brexit. The EC just did not work for the UK, and with immigration of Poles Romanians ect and no way to stop it having real effects on indigenous workers’ wallets, it was not any personal failings of Cameron that led to Brexit, but the collective perceptions of the common people who voted to leave, irrespective of what all the experts were saying . A few of Cameron and Boris’s vulture capitalist friends in London banking were the only business people for Brexit.

  12. Why the constant references to Wiki? Do some real research. Cut and pasting wiki is for high school students at inner city reformatories. Whatever the case with Libya, the fact the Muhammar was keeping the Apericans from overrunning a disgustingly weak EU does much to argue against his over throw.

  13. @Virgile

    The book is already being remaindered if you want a cheap Christmas present for somebody.

  14. @Sean

    It was the Libyan people who rose up and overthrew him

    I must have imagined the bombing campaign that went on, a bombing campaign carried on not by the Libyan people but by a rampant NATO, anxious to squash the idea of a gold backed African gold dinar.

    I doubt the Libyan people were so stupid as to destroy all the water and sewage treatment facilities of their once prosperous and developed nation. Especially not with its hot climate.

    The sewage of your post likely originated in such a destroyed water treatment facility, stinking as it does of the false NATO narrative.

    • Replies: @Sean
  15. Indeed, Cameron’s record is just damning.

    BREXIT alone would do it for him, but, as the reviewer says, his earlier war moves told us all we needed to know about judgment.

    A terrible leader, one completely blind to his own shortcomings.

  16. tyrel says:

    It could have been different for cameron. The economy was in recovery, no one cared about libya and he had squecked by in the Scottish referendum. If the EU had made the concessions he asked for remain would have won and the EU would have made them if they thought there was a real chance of leave winning. At the end of the day leave or remain hardly matters. Whoever wins this election will continue with mass immigration (Boris wants 250,000 a year). The continued mass immigration will now be mostly non European.

    • Replies: @Sean
  17. Sean says:
    @Tsar Nicholas
    There was proof of Gadafi’s insanity when he tried Bulgarian nurses for deliberated infecting hundreds of children with HIV, and used the trials as a wedge to get deals. In 2008 Gaddafi shook down Italy , Libya’s best friend in the West,. He was also demanding billions from the EU and threatening to unleash immigration if he did not get it . Cockburn talks as if Nato bombing of Libya was a terrible crime, but Britain was reciprocating for the decades of bombing and shooting murders that Gaddafi had been responsible for in Northern Ireland (even if Lockerbie is discounted he killed hundreds of British people). What had Britain done to Gaddafi to deserve that? Nothing at all. Live by the sword, die by having a bayonet stuck up your arse.

    Gaddafi had an air force and army with heavy weapons (as did Assad). The West chose to nullify Gaddafi’s heavy weapons advantage, but did not send ground troops so if he had popular support and infantry he could have held onto the west of libya . But he had so little support among the population he had to hire black mercenaries to give him some infantry. A rag tag bunch of rebels from the sparsely populated interior of the country was able to roll into Tripoli and Gaddafi’s troops melted away.

    Italy created Libya, it is not a natural unit and had to be held together by force. In addition to the east west rivalries within Libya there was unrest from masses of young people without prospects of the sort they thought a country in the modern world should provide from oil wealth. The Arab Spring came as a surprise. Whereas spring in Europe began on 21 March, the Arab Spring began in winter, on 17 December, when Tunisians in the small town of Sidi Bouzid rose up in response to the self-immolation of a small trader who had been harassed by the police. But it wasn’t nature that awoke from its slumber; a whole people, a whole region that was once considered sleepy and backward awoke from a 30-year hibernation.

    Tunisia is one of the countries where the population has more than doubled in the space of a generation, rising from 4.6 to 9.8 million
    ​​At the same time, European countries had played their own part in the oppression. Europe’s short-sightedness meant that its leaders could not see where the developments were leading, even though books had been appearing for years in which these developments were forecast. Among them were Söhne und Weltmacht (Sons and World Power) by the sociologist and founder of the Institute for Xenophobia and Genocide Research at the University of Bremen, Gunnar Heinsohn, and Die unaufhaltsame Revolution (The Unstoppable Revolution) by Emmanuel Todd and Youssef Courbage, demographers at the French National Institute for Demographic Studies, INED. Both books use demographic data to show the potential for conflict and cultural upheaval in Arab societies. In Libya, the population has more than tripled (from 1.7 to 5.3 million) within the space of a generation.

  18. @Dan Hayes

    Superior weapons and more rational organization for 4 or 5 generations as far as brown people were concerned, as far as the continent was concerned an enviable geographical position that permitted no end of mischief without the risk of retaliation for about 8 generations.

    That is a lot of time, and it took the british elites some serious effort to gamble the accumulated advantage away in less than 40 years.

    When everybody else had caught up the party quickly ended. The two losing wars against Germany were not the brightest examples of strategic thinking ever conceived, as this considerably sped up the dissolution of the empire.

    (Note to slow thinkers: ruining Germany may be presented as a worthy goal only if each and every other aim of these wars was not reached. St. Winstons self-hagiography comes to mind. The Empire and Germany lost, The US won.)

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  19. @Dan Hayes

    The Industrial Revolution gave the West an edge. This has now been eroded.

  20. @Sean

    You are a bit too glib. Deep state propagandist methinks.

    • Replies: @Sean
  21. @Curmudgeon

    Cockburn is not an honest journilist. I know this from the time I was a ‘Counterpunch’ reader.

  22. Sean says:

    True, but the Poles were in direct competition with British workers in a way that was novel and there was no end in sight to the inflow which was immense . The massive construction boom in London has fewer indigenous workers employed on it than you can imagine.

    • Replies: @tyrel
  23. Sean says:
    @Rev. Spooner

    Enoch Powell :

    “I would sooner receive injustice in the Queen’s court than justice in a foreign court. I hold that man or woman to be a scoundrel who goes abroad to a foreign court to have the judgements of the Queen’s courts overturned”.

    Powel was anti EC, anti immigration and pro Ulster as an integral part of the He understood the importance of Northern Ireland as the open flank of the UK. Ireland is doing the EU bidding and the Republic will pay dearly for it. In every way that counts the Republic is dependant on the UK.

    The deepest level of the British nation state and the one that collectively knows more about what is actually happening is the common people and their common sense. Gaddafi thought he was untouchable by Britain, the EU thought Britain would not, could not, leave.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  24. @Sean

    Gaddafi thought he was untouchable by Britain, the EU thought Britain would not, could not, leave.

    Destroying the Arab belt that protects the continent against the south was insular meanness at its most shortsighted.

    Britain leaving the EU is a most welcome idea, as it will do both parties a world of good. Hopefully an amicable divorce is reached soon.

  25. anon[420] • Disclaimer says:

    1-“Cameron recalls with pride his role in the bombing of Libya in 2011, justifying it on the grounds that Muammar Gaddafi’s tanks and troops were advancing on Benghazi where they would massacre the population.”- Until the killers are caught and tried by hanging or shooting or visited by situation” We came We saw He died” -these psychos including this one will continue to brag in the bar over the British beer about how they got away with the murder.

    2- It requires considerable naivete on Cameron’s part to imagine that the Gulf states, the last absolute monarchies on earth, planned to replace Gaddafi with a secular democracy.” Don’t use this term of “naivete” in this situation to describe the intrinsic malevolence of Cameron unless and until you use the same term to describe the weakness of Al Quiad leader in believing that Uncle Sam wouldn’t use the Islamic radicalism to its advantage against Al Quaida itself in the form of ISIS , or the character flaws of Libyan leader in trusting the good intentions of US-UK over giving up the Libyan nuclear program .

    3 Cameron, but to what used to be called the British ruling class “- Hopefully one of these days the British ruling elite would sneak out of a back door grabbing its crown studded with jewels to escape an advancing new power to London

    • Replies: @James Forrestal
  26. Sean says:

    Gaddafi: Europe will ‘turn black’ unless EU pays Libya £4bn a year
    Col Muammar Gaddafi has warned that Europe runs the risk of turning “black” unless the EU pays Libya at least €5 billion (£4.1 billion) a year to block the arrival of illegal immigrants from Africa.

    By Nick Squires in Rome5:52PM BST 31 Aug 2010
    His remarks, made during a controversial three day visit to Italy, were condemned as “unacceptable blackmail” by Italian MPs, who likened the demand to the protection money that mafia gangs demand from businesses.

    Speaking at a ceremony in Rome while standing next to Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, Col Gaddafi, 67, said that unless his request for money was met, Europe would otherwise become “another Africa” as a result of the “advance of millions of immigrants”.

    “Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European and even black as there are millions who want to come in,” he said.
    “We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions”. Tens of thousands of desperate African refugees and economic migrants have reached Italian soil by boat from the North African coast, although the influx has been stemmed by the Libyan navy in the last year under an accord with the Berlusconi government.

    Italy is a country that benefited greatly from the EU, and got French banks to make them toxic loans but did not play by the economic rules, and now that the EU is wanting them to contribute towards the newer and much poorer members in East Europe the Italians are voting populist and talking about leaving.

    Britain always was playing by the rules (paying more than anyone) and opening itself up to Continental competition. Plus it was the prime destination for EU freedom of movement migrants. Enough was enough. The EU think Britain position on Brexit will collapse but it has a great deal of latent strength to call on. Gaddafi thought he could cause trouble for the UK with impunity too, and how did that work out for him

  27. Sean says:

    That and many similar incidents was due to the hundreds of tons of Semtex Gaddafi sent the IRA. The symbol of Britain is not a mouse that lacks the courage to settle accounts with its enemies. He wanted billions to stop the immigrants, and got paid in the coin of his terrorist realm.

  28. Cameron has the courage to stir the shit but not to stick around and deal with the fallout; in less than four generations, his ilk have ushered in the destruction of the West.

  29. tyrel says:

    I know about the effect polish workers had, used to work on the building sites. You went from not being able to get labourers for love or money to an abundance at £6 an hour self employed. But Britain and Ireland were the only EU countries that did not take advantage of a 7 year limitation on polish immigration. That’s the UK’s fault not the EU’s. There was talk about this on question time before Poland joined. The labour party estimated 33000 would come, farage estimated 330000 the actual number 8000000 plus. Helped to keep the house prices up and wages down though. In or out of the EU mass immigration will continue because it has become the UK’s economic model. House prices in London are so astronomical only an eternal housing shortage will prevent a crash. Immigrants help there

    • Agree: Sean
    • Replies: @Sean
  30. Herald says:

    Agreed Cameron was indeed a miserable failure and also the worst UK prime minister since Tony Blair.

    Cameron’s ludicrous boy scout approach to Libya and Syria was utterly disastrous for both those countries and his Brexit referendum wheeze is now doing something similar, if as yet a lot less bloodily, for the UK. Nice one Dave.

    Instead of publishing his memoirs, Cameron should be “doing life” for war crimes, in a cell alongside those of several other NATO leaders.

  31. Pater says:

    Anthony Bliar takes the prize for worst PM.

  32. Sean says:

    The labour party estimated 33000

    That study was headed by German Christian Dustmann who complained he was not bargaining on the Polish workers being excluded from going to Germany. He is now Professor of Economics at University College London. Blunket said he stopped listening when he heard the lowballed estimate. They knew.

    But Britain and Ireland were the only EU countries that did not take advantage of a 7 year limitation on polish immigration.

    Sweden did too.

    The number of foreign workers who come to Sweden on temporary work contracts has increased greatly, mainly due to the building boom.

    The Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) says Polish builders make up a sizeable percentage of workers coming to Sweden.

    More than four out of ten workers, or 46,400 people, arrived from Poland in 2018, an increase of 74 percent on the year previously, reports news agency TT. Lithuania and Latvia were second and third with just over 7,000 employees each sent over to Sweden

    I have heard they are going through a combination of Blair and Thatcher policies. I think in the end it will be as with Britain and Sweden will leave the EU. You are right that the government that seeks growth as the be all and end all will up running the country on immigration (indeed several years ago the Economist was saying that the Canadian governor of the Bank Of England Mark Carney’s growing reputation was as a ‘central banker who only knows how to pump up housing markets’. In 2015 Business Insider reassured its readers not to worry that Carney was anti -immigration

    So the reduction in average wages will only continue for so long as there’s an increasing number of younger and lower-paid workers coming into the UK — something the Bank of England doesn’t expect to happen. There’s been extremely high migration from countries like Spain and Italy in recent years, with high youth unemployment in those countries. But that doesn’t mean the flows will continue forever. It’s nice to see a story about productivity on the front of British newspapers, since the country does have a big problem with it. As Paul Krugman once said, “productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything.” It just doesn’t have very much to do with immigration.

    Economists tend to assume that the market is self correcting, but nation states at the deepest level (the collective perception of benighted common people) always prefers to maintain itself in security. Economic growth and immigration are important yet the productive capacity of the UK had been inexorably declining over 5 decades in relation to other EEC/ EU members even as the immigration and property bubbles came and went. The big mistake of the EU core countries was threatening the City capitalists’ freedom to massively leverage. Hypercapitalist London bankers may be few in number, but add them to north of Watford service/ construction workers and they make a volatile combination

  33. Antiwar7 says:

    It was the Libyan people who rose up and overthrew him, foreign intervention merley negated the governments heavy weapons.

    What a lie. That’s like saying: If it weren’t for gravity, my plane would have flown. Cockburn’s own experience there, described in this very article, contradicts what you say.

    In reality, it was a typical, dirty regime change operation. Outside powers backed one minority faction, and gave them weapons, propaganda backing, intelligence, and an air force. The “people” my ass.

    Are you actually unaware of this? Or consciously spreading disinformation?

  34. Herald says:

    Ah Sean, the Irish Zionist as ever still pedalling trash. But anyway, Obama sent arms to ISIS, Al Nusrat et al, now surely he deserves a very large blunt instrument up his rear.

  35. @Anonymous

    >>Most British people were fully in favour of Cameron and Sarkozy’s destruction of Libya<<

    No, the media were fully in favour; the people didn't get a say. From what I recall the people were somewhat fooled by all the Arab Spring propaganda in 2011, but ambivalent overall. However by 2013 they had woken up and strongly opposed any attack on Syria, despite relentless media shilling. The British people are not entirely worthless and do learn from mistakes/being fooled. Only the media & politicians never change.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  36. Oh, Gadaffi certainly deserved to die for his crimes against Britain, backing the IRA. But that wasn’t why he was overthrown – we had made peace with him over that, but then overthrew him as ‘humanitarian intervention’, creating another anarchy zone.

  37. @anon

    It requires considerable naivete on Cameron’s part to imagine that the Gulf states, the last absolute monarchies on earth, planned to replace Gaddafi with a secular democracy.” Don’t use this term of “naivete” in this situation…

    Exactly. This is not “naivete” — it’s motivated reasoning. Probably almost reflexive by now. His donors want regime change? Cameron starts spewing platitudes about “democracy” and “human rights” — +/- “gas,” “chemical weapons,” “anuddah Hitlah”…

  38. @Simon in London

    It’s to the great credit of the British people that they rejected the gigantic media propaganda barrage of winter 2015/6 to the effect of “no-fly zone NOW in Aleppo”.

    It was on the UK news for about ten weeks solid, with various Western-funded charities (like the one run by Mrs Stephen Kinnock, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Danish PM) telling us we must must must send in the Air Force against Syrian Government troops.

    But the British people weren’t having it, and Cameron, already burned by Labour’s opportunistic but correct vote against military action in Syria, decided not to push it.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr