Remember David Cameron’s first visit to India – how happy the Indian’s were about his statements about Pakistan?
Leave aside whether what the David Cameron said in India about Pakistan and terror is accurate or not – only Pakistan seems to be disputing that it is not true and that the CIA, US, Interpol, MI6, MI5, Raw, Intelligence Bureau, are all misperceiving the role of ISI and Pakistan.
Let’s instead focus on the other part of the attack by some journalists on Cameron’s ‘honest and blunt diplomacy’ style. As I will show, each of the arguments against David Cameron’s style are either misguided, disingenuous or simply erroneous and irrational.
The first objection is the ‘don’t upset the ally’ argument. This goes, ‘Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror and therefore they should not be upset or publicly humiliated by the kind of comments David Cameron made.’ The problems with this line of reasoning is that, as with friends, they should be told the way it is, not the way they would like to hear it. If you can’t tell an ally, who can you tell? If they don’t listen, you have to up the volume.
The second objection is the ‘okay, say it but keep it private’ argument. The problem with this argument is that Britain has been saying it in private. So has the CIA. It doesn’t work. It has to be done publicly to get a result. British lives are being lost and they are more important to a British PM than the emotional sensibilities of foreign nationals.
The third objection is the ‘not in India’ argument. This goes, ‘Cameron can say what he said publicly, but just not in India’. The argument fails simply because the truth is the truth wherever it is spoken. The fact of the matter is this particular truth is heard more vocally when spoken by the PM in India. If the truth is worth telling it is worth telling with a megaphone.
The fourth objection is ‘but you didn’t tell Pakistan how good they’ve been’. The problem with this argument is its immaturity. Okay, the PM could have tapped them on their head, but I think the billions in aid they get from the West is head-tapping enough.
The fifth objection is ‘Britain is being partial between its two former colonies’. The rebuttal to this is obvious. Britain is right to be partial to any member of the Commonwealth. It is partial against Zimbabwe. All nations have partialities and besides, it’s a long time since 1947.
The sixth objection is the ‘not in our national interests’ argument. This goes, ‘the loss to British security of losing shared intelligence with Pakistan is greater than the gain from trade with India’. The problem with this argument is simple: if Pakistan is truly an ally, truly wants to defeat the Taliban and not simply use them to gain more funds for itself, the way the Russians proved a useful foil for the ISI to receive money from the CIA in the 80s – then these words will not desist them from assisting Britain as surely British interests are Pakistani interests? Or are they?
The seventh objection is ‘not how a PM should behave’ argument. Well, it’s front page news that Britain’s got a PM with backbone and the UK is not a meek also ran partner. What Britain says matters, not because it has a nuclear arsenal, but because it’s willing to speak the truth in its national interest as it sees it. Now that’s a distinctive and clear voice. And surely you can’t get more British than a PM from Eton and Oxford. He defines and embodies what is British.
Finally, is the objection, ‘it’s not how the diplomatic service does things’. Well, you’ve got a new sheriff in town now boys – get used to it. I hope the PM will be just as blunt in saying, ‘buy our jets India.’
- As the British Chancellor readies to visit India (politicalanimal.me)