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Friday, April 16, 2004

STRANGE DAYS AT THE SPECTATOR If you briefly glance at the current edition of the Spectator you'll see that there is not one, not two, but a total of three articles that are critical of if not outright hostile about our operations in Iraq, or more specifically US actions. For the sake of balance I suppose Boris Johnson could have put in at least one positive comment, but instead we find this by Michael Gove:

The stance of Canning, Churchill and Thatcher, the belief now characterised as neoconservatism, which holds that it is the West’s duty to stand up for liberty against its enemies, has not always held sway in Tory ranks. There has always been a strain in Conservative thinking, the Little Englander or isolationist tendency, that has been deeply suspicious of foreign intervention. A majority of Conservatives supported appeasement in the Thirties and did not want British troops to ‘die for Danzig’. John Major’s government shied away from confronting the dictator Milosevic and stood aside from the tragedy in Rwanda. For many Conservatives now, a Powellite reading of foreign affairs appears tempting, and a belief that if we stay out of foreign quarrels we shall be safer has become seductive.
. . .
Second, if the Tories flirt with hostility towards Bush’s America, they will be encouraging precisely those forces most hostile to a revival of modern conservatism. Anti-Americanism, as popularised by Michael Moore and articulated by Robin Cook, has not become the defining feature of left-wing discourse by accident.
. . .
Tories should note that anti-Americanism on the Right has, historically, either descended into marginal extremism — as with Jean-Marie Le Pen or Jörg Haider — or insipid quasi-social democracy, as with Heath and Chirac. If British Toryism is to grow as a movement which is both mainstream and identifiably conservative, then it cannot do so by embracing anti-Americanism.

What can we read into this, I wonder?

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