BLOGGING AND FOREIGN POLICY: A COMMENT
"There are few things more depressing than reading Leon Blum"
Lev Davidovich Bronstein [Trotsky]
Several people have asked about the wreath I laid at the cenotaph today. It was obviously a different colour from the red poppy wreaths, and was made of live flowers. As is traditional it was made up by Kew Gardens from using ferns and flowers found in the 12 Overseas Territories.
Posted by David Miliband on 12 Nov 07
"Leadership within Islam"
The most effective people to take on the ideology of terrorism inspired or franchised by Al Qaeda are Muslims who are sick and tired of their religion being used as a basis for mass killing. That is the significance of the open letter from Muslim leaders (significantly Sunni and Shia) to the heads of all Christian churches calling for a united front to promote peace and understanding. The origins of the letter are in Jordan but the 138 signatories come from across the Muslim world. The text is a work of Biblical and Koranic exposition and interpretation. It is thoroughgoing and humanitarian. I look forward to the response, and to the dialogue that it calls for.
Posted by David Miliband on 05 Nov 07
"The Search For Peace in The Middle East"
The largest part of my meeting with Condoleezza Rice earlier this week was on the Middle East Peace Process. We spent almost an hour talking about the road leading up to the Annapolis Meeting at the end of this month and the road from Annapolis. We now have the best chance to make progress towards peace in the Middle East since 2001. We hope that an agreement at Annapolis will put the Israelis and Palestinians on a path to real negotiations in 2008, leading to a final settlement of two states living side by side in peace and security. Israeli security is absolutely fundamental to a just solution; and Palestinian hardship can only be tackled through a political process that creates an economically and socially viable Palestinian state at peace with Israel. Now is the time for the international community to be resolute against any attempts - and they will be made - to undermine the firm principles of peaceful coexistence and political dialogue at the heart of this process.
It is vital that the international community gets behind US leadership in this crucial period. The unanimous strength of feeling among European Foreign Ministers at the European Council in Lisbon was a very good sign in this regard and European actions will support the parties to the talks. And the history of Middle East talks shows that without active engagement and support from Arab states, the momentum for progress cannot be maintained - that is why the Arab Peace Initiative is so important.
In my first week at the Foreign Office I laid out the bedrock of our approach to the MEPP. It remains: first, to be unstinting in our support for the principle of a two-state solution; second, to give every support to those who are committed to peaceful progress in the region; and third to support economic and social development across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad have made clear their commitment to the Quartet principles and peaceful progress. We are working closely with them. As for Hamas, their choice is whether to support the drive for peace based on a two state solution, or whether they will continue to shut themselves off from engagement with the international community following their bloody role in the deaths of over a hundred Palestinians in June.
The Foreign Ministers of France, Spain and Italy previewed for the European Council their visit to the Lebanon, where the countries' security forces are playing a vital role on the Lebanon/Israel border. The next month will also be critical for Lebanon. We have urged the government and the opposition to reach consensus on the Presidential elections. Hizbollah also need to decide what role they will play. They should end terrorist activity, abandon their status as an armed group and participate in the democratic process as a fully democratic political party. Our response will depend on the choice they make.
Posted by David Miliband on 25 Oct 07
All found on www.blogs.fco.gov.uk
And, one may amend tovarish Trotsky's comment by adding 'except perhaps reading David Miliband's blog'. What comes over one, as one peruses Miliband's jottings (let us presume for a second that in fact the tripe that one is reading is in fact Miliband's rather than some Assistant Private Secretary in his Private Office at the FCO) is a mixture of boredom and irritation that the UK rate payer is actually subsidizing this unadulterated rubbish. And, soupcon of embarrassment that the lineal descendant of the Viscount Castlereagh, Lords Palmerston, Clarendon, Salisbury, Granville, Landsdowne, Sir Edward Grey, Arthur Balfour, Lord Curzon, Sir Austen Chamberlain, Sir Anthony Eden, Ernie Bevin, Lord Home, Lord Carrington, Douglas Hurd, et al., has stooped so low, in such an infra dig manner, as to dish out to the public, his staff at the Foreign Office and his colleagues abroad in the chancelleries of Europe and the world, this warmed up soup of cliches and self-serving opinions. What can be more asinine than to read an entry titled: 'we haven't forgotten Burma' (supposed that you had Foreign Secretary what then?), which goes on to explain all the many things that the Foreign Office is trying to do in order to expedite and assist matters in that unfortunate country (the answer is in reality: not much). Once upon a time, the British Foreign Secretary, was one of the centres of power, occupying one of the cockpits of International Diplomacy. Reading Miliband's online journal, after awhile one comes to the depressing conclusion that the current incumbent at Number Ten Carlton Gardens, does not think very much of his new post, other than as a highly visible sinecure, in which to climb up the greasy pole of Labour Party politics, when Prime Minister Gordon Brown does eventually retire.
As for other examples of the genre, they are (believe it or not) even more asinine. The American State Department's 'Official Blog', titled: 'Dipnote', makes its UK counterpart to be unexpectedly intelligent, casual and unassuming. Not to speak of the fact that it is much more overtly propagandistic in both its content and form:
"Lebanon is in the final countdown of Emile Lahoud's presidency, due to expire at midnight on November 23. After having been deprived of its right to vote for a president three years ago, when Syria ordered a constitutional amendment to extend Lahoud's term, Lebanon's Parliament is charged with electing his successor. A struggle is underway about whether the new president will come from the "Cedar Revolution" March 14 bloc (that, despite the assassinations of four of its Members of Parliament in the last two years, still clings to a parliamentary majority) or instead be considered a "consensus" choice acceptable to Hizballah and Syria. Some fear that the political divisions in Lebanon can lead to a presidential vacuum, two parallel governments, or even violence. The United States and other international friends of Lebanon are helping to promote presidential elections held on time and without foreign interference and intimidation. The goal is that a "made-in-Lebanon" president, freely chosen by Lebanon's MPs, will reinforce Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and democracy, through commitment to the principles behind the dramatic "Cedar Revolution" that led to the withdrawal of Syria's occupying troops in 2005".
"The Role that Lebanon Plays in Regional Middle East Stability", by Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman in www.blogs.state.gov.
The fact that Feltman himself has been attacked (rightly or wrongly is another matter of course) for interfering time and again in Lebanon's domestic politics, is something that one would not know of, from reading this entry (for attacks on Feltman's influence in the current crisis, see: www.syriacomment.com). Which just highlights the fact that these officially sponsored, online journals are merely another means of propaganda and or the projection of officially sponsored truths. And, like all officially sponsored 'truths', should be held in suspicion until otherwise proven valid.