Features

A world crisis with no world leader

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

There was a time when having almost two hundred of your citizens blown out of the sky was a big deal for a western democracy. But when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last month, killing 193 Dutch citizens and a couple of dozen other Europeans, the response was conspicuous public mourning, some mild objections, a soupçon more sanctions, but otherwise nothing. Everyone knew which government might have handed powerful surface-to-air missiles to eastern Ukraine’s rebels. But nobody seemed willing or able to do anything much about it.

There was also a time when whole swaths of the map being overrun by Islamic groups who make al-Qa’eda look like Quakers would have caused concern to the civilised world. Wasn’t the intended post-9/11 mission (before it got lost in a swamp of largely futile ‘nation-building’) precisely aimed at preventing the emergence of ungoverned spaces around the world where international terrorists could train freely?

What bliss that 2001 map looks like now. Back then there were only a couple of ungoverned spaces. Today the map’s full of them. Having rampaged across Syria, crucifying and beheading as it went, Isis has managed to seize major towns, an air force and oil facilities in Iraq and declared the reconfiguration of the Caliphate. The Pakistani Taleban have managed to temporarily seize control of major airports in that country as well as tribal border regions. And neither there nor anywhere else does anybody seem to have any idea of what to do. Today the list of ungoverned spaces stretches from North Africa to South Asia.

In the United States there is a growing awareness that some of this might be a presidential problem. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize for not doing anything seems to have persuaded President Obama that not doing anything brings peace as well as prizes. Yet the results don’t support his instincts. And it’s not just ‘hawks’ on the right who are noticing this. Just last week Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, said, ‘The worldwide populist unrest and the decline in effective state control is historically unprecedented.’

So no, it certainly doesn’t help when the person in the post of what used to be leader of the free world spends much of his time golfing and shopping around for post-Presidential real estate. But despite the gibes of his domestic political opponents, the problem is not President Obama checking out of his job early. It is that most of the American political class — and a worryingly large proportion of the American public — don’t think that leading the free world is the President’s job any more. That and the fact that the ones who do think it’s America’s responsibility don’t seem full of ideas about what to do instead.


It’s not just about the big picture. It’s about details. Recently leaked cables suggest that even before the MH17 outrage, the Ukrainian authorities were asking America for technology to intercept BUK missiles like the one that brought down the airliner. Like so much else, the request fell on deaf ears. Don’t poke the bear, appears to have been the feeling in Washington as everywhere else — a paralysis that turns out to be self-reinforcing. Europe is looking to America for leadership and Obama’s America thinks — not without some justification — that when it comes to Russia in particular, the Europeans ought to lead the way. A more than usually insulting cartoon in the International New York Times last week portrayed the Europeans as sheep, baa-ing inconsequentially in the wake of the strongman Putin.

So yes, the problem is bigger than one man, even a man in the position which for almost a century could have shifted such global drift. There are also the problems which are, if not unique to our time, then certainly exacerbated by it. For instance there is undoubtedly the problem of the West’s attention span in an era driven by 24-hour news. Like a lighthouse, we seem able to fix our beam on everything at some point, but settle nowhere, and focus on nothing. For many people, the downing of MH17 was a sharp reminder that the Ukraine crisis is still going on.

It’s not just in Ukraine that this attention deficit disorder is manifesting itself. It is now three years since David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy led the international effort to topple Colonel Gaddafi. But after the toppling and the victory tour everybody lost interest in the country. The American ambassador was murdered in Benghazi in an act that the current administration still insists was something between a random act of violence and the more exuberant variety of movie criticism. But apart from that incident, the world’s attention just couldn’t stick around. This week British and other western diplomats were pulled from Libya and the Royal Navy evacuated hundreds of British and other EU nationals. And all this in a country which is one of the main launch points for illegal migrants seeking to enter Europe.

What is more, the cycle of avoidance is self-reinforcing. There’s no political focus because there’s no popular pressure for anything to be done. And there’s no popular pressure because — unlike in, say, Gaza — Libya, Syria, Iraq, parts of Ukraine and numerous other places are now too dangerous for reporters to work from. So the world’s attention only ever focuses on moderately dangerous situations.

Attention span is not our only problem. Not the least among our other problems is the fact that the interconnectedness of our globalised economies (about which we have heard so much for so long) turns out to make any stand against any country seemingly impossible to achieve. Anyone can maintain sanctions against North Korea. We don’t want their kimchi, and sanctions against them cost us almost nothing.

When it comes to a country like Russia the calculus is very different. In the wake of the MH17 atrocity, David Cameron said it would be ‘unthinkable’ for the French President, François Hollande, to go ahead with the billion-pound sale of two helicopter carriers to Russia. ‘We need to put the pressure on all our partners to say that we cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it is behaving in this way.’ The French understandably took exception to this. ‘David Cameron should start by cleaning up his own back yard,’ said the head of President Hollande’s ruling Socialist party, keen to pay special attention to the number of oligarchs who keep London’s housing market and luxury goods sector in such rude demand.

As it happens, the UK derives just 2 per cent or so of Russian foreign direct investment. In 2012 the European country that received the largest share of such investment from Russia was Cyprus (37 per cent). But which country was next on the list? It was the Netherlands (16 per cent).

This isn’t the only reason the Dutch political class squandered an opportunity to show some genuine leadership, and contented themselves instead with public mourning and the (long-delayed) granting of a request to send inspectors to the site. But when your economy — and opinion polls — are likely to suffer as a result, it is easier to put the onus of leadership on another country or another leader and postpone any tough talk for another time and another day. Which is what the Dutch are doing. And the Americans.  And the British. And almost everybody else.

The last time the world had this kind of leadership gap we got Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II. There are those who will chalk that up to providence. But it was perhaps more circumstance. Terrific challenges can throw up terrific leaders. How we need them today. Look around the world in 2014 and you can see that the only countries and people actually aspiring to the burdens of global leadership are the countries and people we’d least like to have them. In the meantime, we should consider the job application to be open. ‘Wanted: at least one individual (of either sex) to lead the free world. Communication skills useful, but not a priority. Nobel Peace Prize winners need not apply.’

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Show comments
  • Freedom

    I’ll speak for the free world:

    ‘Liberty knows no borders, but this sett honours those free countries in which the designer has lived as a citizen: Great Britain, Canada, the United States of America’. However, I was not allowed to say that Liberty Knows No Borders. I was not allowed to call my tartan what it was originally designed as, either: the British-American Friendship tartan — to commemorate the historical and cultural connection between those nations. No, the Scottish Register of Tartans, to its shame, objected to that, and I had to change it. As if the connection that defeated slavery, made the sea safe from piracy, created the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, and enshrined basic rights in their constitutions is nothing worth honouring.

    I made my tartan anyway.

    Ben Franklin said — and I am his daughter — ‘Where liberty dwells, there is my country’.

    • global city

      and yet the Common Core has just dropped him from all reading lists in US schools. The rot is at the heart of the US.

  • Colin

    “The last time the world had this kind of leadership gap we got Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and John Paul II. ”

    Agree with that, Douglas. Sadly, that was a time where politics wasn’t quite seen as a career in and of itself. It was a time when people of conviction and substance, with the ability to communicate, and, regardless of how they looked, could rise to the fore.

    People will say that Thatcher and Reagan were divisive leaders, but, the reality is, their message appealed to the majority. They, along with J.P. II gave hope to half a continent, subjugated by socialist tyranny. They could do that because they had the means at their disposal and the will to follow through, if necessary.

    Nowadays, and after two decades of accountant led defence policy, the rise of the careerist political class and the emergence of a Political / Media Complex that perpetuates a macro agenda of globalised mediocrity; it’s no longer clear what’s good and what’s not. One thing is for sure, the baddies are getting badder and closer…

    • John Byde

      Don’t worry, Colin. Boris is back! All will be solved, just have faith and patience!

      • Kennie

        That’s correct. We will be able to sneak in and take over, whilst the rest of the world is rolling about in fits of laughter at Boris.

    • gelert

      All politics is divisive. I would say that RR and MT were not appeasers at home or abroad.

    • Kaine

      Thatcher was a career politician. She got her first selection at the age of 25 and was elected at the age of 33.

      • Colin

        She didn’t behave like one.

        • Kaine

          By which you mean you liked her.

          • Colin

            By which I mean, she was concerned with the business of government and restoring the UK’s credibility and status; rather than seeing politics solely as vehicle for making money.

          • Kaine

            She didn’t need to, she married a millionaire.

            And no-one goes into politics for the money. If you’re determined and connected enough to get selected and elected you could get something paying more.

  • Kitty MLB

    ” A leader for the free world”
    The problem is we have no such leader, No Thatcher, Churchill, Wellington or Alexander the Great. No one with the courage or principles to fight the evil from the
    Middle East. Instead we cower to them and due to the Iraq war we are now weakened
    and vulnerable and they know it. The likes of that weak man Obama does not have the gumption and for the rest politics is just a career and they want to appear popular
    and nice. Whilst cowering to the Middle East whilst they plot world domination.
    Someone wrote a book ( can’t think of his name at present) about the fall of the West
    and rise of the East is seems the vanity, arrogance and mistakes of the West will allow
    that to happen. Evil will flourish when good men do nothing.

    • Thomtids

      I think that the finest and only Prime Minister this Country had of whom we could be truly proud was Margaret Thatcher. Not because of her “politics” but because of her honesty.
      No one, including Churchill, were in the least honest. Consider Eden, who conspired with the French and the Israelis over Suez. That destroyed this Country’s integrity in the eyes of the World and rightly so. We blamed the USA for letting us down and ordering us cease. That was the price Churchill paid the Americans to even consider fighting Hitler. Consider Churchill’s underhand dealings with Stalin behind Roosevelt’s back! Not the least of Churchill’s failings. Consider Heath. The lies told to this Country to trick us into joining European destruction of this Country, but only after we had paid off our Lend-Lease War Debt to the Americans!
      Wellington was a great soldier before politics. Eisenhower was not a great soldier but a great administrator. The greatest fighting General was Paton, although MacArthur saved Korea.
      As for Alexander the Great…..who knows? He might have been the ISIS of the day!:)

  • TrulyDisqusted

    Amazing how the Human Rights Crowd are angrily creating a world in which Human Rights won’t exist or will be decided by the group with the bloodiest sword.

    Question is, is it through wilful blindness or design because I don’t believe for a second that those who pay the angry mobs are this stupid or incompetent.

    • global city

      The doolally one world/brotherhood of man, NWO folk are so fixated on bringing down the horrible West that they have forgotten to look over the fence at the rest of the world.

      I’ve always found it amusing how the ‘Internationalists’ are the most ethno/regional/westerncentric insular idiots on the planet. They do not have the slightest clue about how the rest of the world functions, except for what they read in the grauniad.

      When their side finally wins it will be the dumbarsed progressive liberals who will be first to be liberated from their heads in the town square.

      • post_x_it

        I’m not sure. Having proven their worth as useful, malleable idiots, they may well survive and thrive for a while longer.

        • Thomtids

          They will last for about as long as the happy loonie who climbs into the Lions’ Enclosure at the Zoo, in the belief that the monstrous creature, armed with claws and fangs designed for the disembowelment of anything else on legs, is just another pussy like the one they left at home.
          This is another “raping nuns, shooting nurses” type story.
          The Yazidis are not Christians. They are “historic” Arabs like I’m an historic Yorkshireman. I bet I’ve been a Yorkshireman for longer than they’ve been Iraqis, or Palestinians or Levantines. None of us are any more historic than anybody else. If America’s financiers had wanted the Yazidis to be safe sound and go on happily living where the are or were, then they should have left Saddam Hussein alone! WMD? Ancient population? Yeah right.

      • Ambientereal

        Every being carries in it the seeds of its own destruction. The human kind has developed the Humanismus in which the human rights are included, and it will favor the actions against the humankind itself.
        The rights are being misuses by those wanting to act against the stabilized human society, of which the best example are the so called western countries.
        We, the west citizens have acted against our interests in extending the rights to cultures that are against us. One of our weaknesses is the universal respect of life over all other item. This is being used against us keeping us as hostages of our own principles.

        • Johnny May

          It’s not humanism or human rights that at fault here. It’s those people who think there freedoms just fell from the sky one day, and can’t remember that usually they had to be hardly fought for against tyrants and oppressors. Nothing in the concept of human rights or in humanist thought says, that you should not fight against obscurants who deprive others of their rights.

          What’s wrong is only that the concept of human right seems to have been absorbed and warped in the process by certain groups whose ideology is closer to Marx and Lenin that humanism and enlightenment. “Better red than dead” they shouted three decades ago. If those are the slogans of your self-appointed human rights defenders you better get started looking for new ones.

          Radical pacifism might be a good idea, if your surrounded by friends (like Western Europe) or to weak to defend yourself against anyone anyways. Otherwise “The tree of liberty grows only when watered from time to time with the blood of tyrants” makes for a much more healthier attitude.

        • Ehud Ur

          Read much Popper have you

    • Kitty MLB

      O wretched human rights the reason why we have issued
      deporting those who threaren us.Churchill would turn in his
      grave if he knew who are defended now.The rights of would
      be terrorists who act like savages but strangely know ‘their’
      rights.

      • Thomtids

        Churchill would have got pissed and then made friends with them. He had no regard for civil rights, having a bad habit of having anyone from Right or Left who could have provided an alternative view, opinion or focus, interned without trial.

        • Wessex Man

          That’s a disgusting smear of a great man! What Churchill actally said after fighting against Muslims in the Sudan, India and the North West Frontier was:- No stronger retrograde force exists in the World!

          He goes on to say much more in his book The River War. If it wasn’t for Sir Winston Churchill and the British when we stood alone, there would have been no democracy outside of North America, there would have been no Jews left in the Western World and you wouldn’t be here to insult his memory.

          • Johnny May

            Churchill is much overrated. That is not intended to slight his achievements during WWII, but he wasn’t as politically astute as one could believe, when only looking at those 5 years. Before and after war he made some serious political blunders.

          • Thomtids

            Churchill was a man who was devoid of honest principle. He was grotesque of personal habit ranging from being alcoholic in extreme, improvident of money including tax-evasive and the acceptor of improper payments from overseas interests contrary to the interests of this Country. He respected no law, as I said having political opponents interned. He was a self-publicist of Goebbelian dishonesty to the point when I do not trust anything he, or his ghost-writers, has written. He was militarily utterly incompetent. He, personally, caused enormous military losses on his personal micromanagement of anything that could be interfered with.
            His military appointments before Alanbrooke reigned him in were the continuation of his incompetence either because the appointees were themselves not up to the task eg Gen. Freyburg in command for the defence of Crete. Despite having Enigma information and having begun to make Crete a Fortress, and having at least 10,000 prepared and equipped troops, as well as 1.000s of troops brought out of Greece following the disaster there, Freyburg couldn’t run the defence of the Island against airborne troops. He was incompetent as was his controller Churchill. That led to the most dreadful losses to the Navy having to evacuate the Army for the third time after Dunkirk, Greece and, finally Crete with 11 ships sunk. It cost the loss of Tobruk having bled out the best troops to throw away at Greece. And with due respect to Johny May, Churchill made almost no military decisions that stand scrutiny stripped of his and the Official Histories lies and myths. His only real contribution actually pre-dated the War and that was Bletchley Park and Enigma. He then kept the “golden eggs” it laid (his description) to enhance his position in military issues but it also contained lie the Delphic Oracle disaster. As is also clear, as Churchill knew and suppressed, there was no prospect whatever of Invasion by Germany. He was so duplicitous that he even double crossed Roosevelt with secret agreements with Stalin. Hence Yalta. I could go on but whilst Churchill was not wrong about the awful result of Islam then, now and for longer than is worth thinking of, he was probably one of the truly appalling people ever to get into a position of such power. As for saving International Jewry, the “Official line” is that no-one knew about “The Final Solution until the relief of the first Camps. Thus the War had no interest in what it did not know of.

          • Cogito Dexter

            You really are a revolting individual. The only thing that Churchill got wrong was being so successful that malign people like you get to besmirch his memory with impunity.

            I guess I should be happy really. Churchill fought for freedom and that freedom means you get to say whatever bilge you like, but also I get to tell you that you are odious.

          • Thomtids

            “The only thing that Churchill got wrong was being so successful….”.
            Clearly, you are no historian.
            Churchill got practically nothing right throughout his entire political career except picking which Party to change sides to in his search for Public Paid Office.
            Indeed, he even got to repeat his mistakes in the First WW and the Second. His fixation with “the soft under-belly of Europe” led to the disaster of forcing the Constantinople Straits and Gallipoli – and Churchill’s resignation after dismissal from Office; and then, in the 2nd WW he pursued the Italian campaign considered by The Americans and Eisenhower as a “side-show”.
            In terms of his (initial) control of the Country’s a Forces in the 2nd WW, the only thing he did get right was Bletchley Park -and that wasn’t “new” as there had been a clandestine service of similar undertaking in the 1st War. And the Germans were already reading British coded traffic.
            As for Churchill’s military acumen, he was an idiot.
            Invasion of Norway..disaster.
            The loss of Repulse and Prince of Wales followed by Singapore.
            Crete…disaster.
            Greece….disaster.
            Tobruk….disaster.
            Dieppe….disaster.
            Market Garden…disaster.
            Read Viscount Alanbrooke’s Diaries of the War.
            The appointment of Eisenhower and Tedder by-passing Churchill was a miracle.
            And we won’t mention the resort to “area bombing of civilian populations”,
            Churchill was a narcissist, alcoholic, self-important fool whom we were truly fortunate after 1943 had no real input to the proper war, due to perpetual drunkenness, bi-polar psychotic depression, duplicitous dealing with Stalin behind Roosevelte’s back.
            Not a nice man. And the purchase of his “Papers” for sum of £13m was an utter disgrace seeing most of it related to the “purchase” of Enigma decrypts that he had stolen and were a perpetual threat to the “Official version” of the War as propagated post-war to justify it.

          • Cogito Dexter

            You are a nasty piece of work. You really are. Without Churchill’s steadfast will, this country would have appeased Germany and sued for peace in 1940 as Halifax (presumably your preferred alternative) would have chosen to do. That would have gifted Germany the entire continent of Europe.

            You are abhorrent. People like my father did not risk their lives fighting for the likes of you.

          • Thomtids

            “Appeasement” is a myth, again provided as a “failing” in those in power by those justifying the seizure of power from them.
            The League of Nations had no power or Forces to implement The Versailles’ Treaty nor to prevent breaches of it. Unlike Hitler, who had acquired considerable Public support as well as political authenticity.
            You also forget that there was no public support in this Country for a further War. Chamberlain was entirely right as was the common political position to delay the pace of development whilst re-arming (blame the “10-year-Rule”).
            Bearing in mind that, whilst Chamberlain’s Declaration of War was no more than High Diplomacy, this Country had NO prospect of winning an armed conflict against Germany.
            The utter rout of France and the BEF was demonstrable proof of that proposition. Nor can you point to the eventual outcome and suggest that “we won it”. We didn’t.
            Firstly, when War was declared, Germany and Russia were Allies and remained so until “Barbarossa”. Even America’s resources channelled through us couldn’t have beaten them. As it was, Churchill’s elevation of the “Phoney War” to a bombing War was vainglorious.
            Halifax had no reason to have sued for peace. Hitler repeated his offer that we retain our Empire and let him sort out Russia, as he had clearly enunciated over a long period. Indeed, he already had control of much of Europe given the French were going to collaborate, as they did and still are doing.
            It is, also, an entirely valid question that I invite you to answer honestly, whether had the war remained the Russo-German conflict intended, whether “The Final Solution” as pursued after the Wannsee Convention in late 1942 would have been put into effect, or whether Heydritch and Himmler -the real driving force – would have been overtaken by the Germanification of Russia.
            As for your rather tasteless suggestion that your father did not fight for “the likes of (me)”, mine did. And volunteered.

          • Cogito Dexter

            My father volunteered as well. Shall we get into an argument about who’s Dad could beat the other one in a fight too? Because that’s the level you seem to be setting the bar at.

            Are you deliberately being a contrarian or do you believe the rubbish you are spouting?

            In any case, you entirely missed the point: I wasn’t talking about appeasement by Chamberlain. I was talking about the propositions for suing for peace in 1940. Which, without any shadow of a doubt, would have left Europe under Hitler’s yoke. And, for some unknown reason, you seem to think that such a policy would have been a good thing! Do you really truly believe that Hitler would have held to his promise of leaving us alone, once he’d sorted out his other difficulties? Really? Like he promised to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone after he annexed the Sudetenland? Hitler’s promises weren’t worth the paper they were printed on, as we all know. Which makes risible your suggestion that Churchill was somehow wrong to prosecute the war – phony or otherwise – rather than let Halifax sell us down the river.

            I’ve never conversed with a bona fide traitor (albeit in retrospect) before. This is a novel experience for me. I can’t say it’s been particularly edifying though.

          • Thomtids

            The term “appeasement” is one specifically applied to the period from 1935 through to Munich and “Peace for our time”. It was and is misapplied to Chamberlain expressly, although by association Lord Halifax and a majority of the Conservatives of the time also fully supported the avoidance of War. Viewed through the prism of the confected history of today, which you appear to have absorbed without demur and undoubtedly believe, it has been quietly overlooked, or studiously ignored, the vast majority of the population did not wish to get involved, nor needed to, again.
            Your Hero wrote, or one of his many ghost-writers did, “History shall look badly upon him. I know, for I shall write it”. As much of Churchill’s historic recollections were wholly self-justifying, such as his outright lie that it was he, and not Dowding, who called a halt to the destruction of RAF Squadrons in the Battle of France and saved them for the Battle of Britain, I suggest less trust in your Hero’s “integrity”. He didn’t have any. The “Invasion” that never was or could have been. Read Goebbel’s Diary.
            Your question about the matter of trust in Hitler’s word is, of course, the oldest interrogative about the demands. It is actually illogical, and clearly posed “ex post facto” as he held the Aces in the pack. There were no other equal or well equipped Armed Forces in the World at the time.
            Had matters been left, then in due course Barbarossa would have erupted. The History of the World would undoubtedly have been very much different. If you want to use your brain for analysis rather than propaganda storage, consider who and how such a monumental fool as Churchill was bought as the Parliamentarian to unseat a popular Government and extremely competent Prime Minister, forming a Coalition with the moribund Socialist Party to fight a War it could not win?
            Halifax’s position was entirely transparent.
            As for the particularly specious suggestion as to my “status”, you exhibit the modern habit of failing to address the argument and instead impugn your opponent. I do not read in my posts any critical comment upon you save your gullibility. Given that you are in a huge majority merely indicates the longevity that lies can have. Your Hero does not deserve any statue in Parliament Square.
            Churchill was an unscrupulous mass-murderer who grossly misled the people of this Country to involve them in a War. It seems to be a habit for living Prime Ministers, too.

          • Cogito Dexter

            “History shall look badly upon him. I know, for I shall write it” – Ha! You can’t even accommodate the idea that something might be written with a sense of humour. You are pathetic and in an infinitely small minority, thank the Lord.

          • Thomtids

            Churchill was not speaking benevolently of Chamberlain when this comment was made. Churchill was petty-minded, bore grudges and bereft of appreciation or respect for others.
            By way of unarguable illustration, he encouraged and supported Opposition to the strategy of economy of force in RAF response by Mallory, Bader and others, who wanted to pursue the “big wing”. Just as with the waste of squadrons in France earlier, this led to destruction of runways and untimely loss of resources as it was always going to do.
            After Dowding and Parke won the Battle of Britain with Radar and superior strategy, Churchill had both sacked and replaced with the “Big Wing ” promulgators. In due course, Parke went on to save Malta as well.
            And what do YOU make of a man who exhibits himself by parading naked to female and male staff who were in no position to object. And repeats the exhibition to the President of the USA? A narcissist, certainly. A pervert? A grotesque?
            Whatever, he was not the Saviour of Western Civilisation. If he had got his way, he was all for using nuclear weapons on Russia immediately following the destruction of Nagasaki. Fortunately, the weapon dropped on that City, Fat Man, was the last nuclear device capable of being deployed by air! And the Russians were his Allies!

          • Cogito Dexter

            You really do talk rubbish.

          • Thomtids

            You still haven’t answered the questions.
            As for your assertion that my comments are “rubbish”, every material detail that I have stated in every single one of my responses to you is provably accurate and true.
            Whether you like it or not, your man really was thoroughly repulsive.
            And far from being a “brave” war leader, having provoked The Blitz having access to decrypted Enigma concerning bombing raids, it appears that he was in the habit of sneaking out of Westminster to avoid the bombing by going to Chequers. “Bulldog” grit and fortitude. Ballocks.
            As Joe Kennedy reported back to Roosevelte when he had been sent to assess Churchill as leader (and this Country’s worth to receive US arms and aid), he described him as “a drunk”.

          • Cogito Dexter

            I take comfort in the fact that ‘my man’ is also the ‘man’ of the vast and overwhelming majority of Britons, including my parents and grandparents who voted for him, and served in the forces during the war. I couldn’t give tuppence for your opinions. Feel free to have the ‘last word’ – it seems to be something idiopathic for most internet trolls. I’ve had enough of you and I’m satisfied that your ‘opinions’ are worthless and baseless.

          • Thomtids

            I have repeatedly provided you with evidence of the personal failures attaching to your hitherto heroic man of the 20th Century. That clearly reveal him to have been a a man of straw, devoid of integrity or fit for trust in high office and yet you turn away, preferring the lies, subterfuge, meaningless aims or pointless levers to manage the movement do policy by. Indeed, his present lack of a aim Iraq target is seriously avoiding actually confronting the total lack of progress..

          • Thomtids

            Closing your senses to the moral and other failings of Churchill whom those with millions of gallons of innocent civilian blood on their hands had lionised and raised to “Saviour of the Western Civilisation” is an entirely infantile response to the revelations through forensic historians who have revealed the sordid truth about his input to the modern history and terminal decline of Great Britain.
            Churchill’s part was as a bit player with the odd speaking part, most of the time when so under the influence of alcohol as to be almost incidental since most of his “historic speeches” being peddled by the BBC today are contemporaneous recordings made by a well-known mimic of the time (from a Children’s’ Broadcast) could not be recorded as Churchill was inebriated.
            As you invite me to have the last words in our exchanges, I will. Your rather sad suggestion earlier….
            “Churchill’s only fault was to get so much of what he did right…….”.
            The list is empty.
            He was just another nasty little man with an eye on the main chance and 15 minutes of fame that he certainly didn’t justify. If history had turned out differently he would have suffered the fate that he predicated for Hitler and the other leaders of the Third Reich, guilty of War Crimes no different than he perpetrated, namely the application of “Victors’ Justice” and a Firing Squad at dawn.

          • Cogito Dexter

            Pathetic. You truly are.

          • Thomtids

            You must remember that Churchill was devoid of a moral compass. As such, having been considerably financially assisted by his political involvement in the Middle Eastern nascent Oil Industry before and during the Great War, his role in the 1922 White Paper on Palestine was not unlike the position of Sepp Blatter in the award of a World Cup venue to Qatar…..ambiguous! As it continued to be in the years before the commencement of war in 1939.
            Churchill was the ultimate “useful idiot”.

          • Cogito Dexter

            Still pathetic.

  • Baron

    Good stab at explaining the West’s incompetence as the new century unfolds except for one thing, Douglas. The world of Reagan and Thatcher was markedly different from today’s. Russia and China were still pursuing the dream of a communist nirvana, the centrally planned communist model was mimicked by India, Brazil was suffering from massive inflation, the apartheid held back South Africa. The unchallenged economic and military supremacy of the Republic together with the resurgence of Britain’s self confidence furnished the two great leaders with a platform from which to shape the world for the better.

    Today, it’s no longer a unipolar set up. The Republic’s share of the World’s Gross Product (WGP) has dropped from the 40% level (at peak) to just over 20%, the country drowns in debt, it’s torn apart domestically e.g. immigration, the tea party, its wealth creation has slowed down. The democratic deficit of the European set-up inhibits strong leadership not only internally, but on the international scene, too. It’s the BRICS countries that are in ascendancy, and nothing on the horizon suggests their advance will be halted soon. Their combined share in the WGP has already reached almost half of America’s, and they’ve been at it for only 20 years.

    If we are to avoid a major conflict, perhaps it would be wise not to look for a single leader, but for the near top dogs to set up a joint world leadership, try to compromise rather than expand their geographical or ideological reach, indulge in half baked regime changes, futile posturing, acts of state sponsored terrorism.

  • Spectator

    Succinctly put, Douglas! However, you seem to have forgotten a very
    small but, crucially important part, which is; who is going to pay for that, in
    money terms and blood? Not so long ago, B&B, half heartedly went in to Iraq on a bogus excuse. As a result, they nearly bankrupt their respective countries financially (check it out) and destroyed their moral standing and prestige across the world. Iraq is disappearing before our eyes.

    One has to put ones money, where ones mouth is. Do you seriously think that Boris, Dave or George for that matter – who are happy to entertain Russian billionaires – have moral fibre or courage to turn against it? Yes, they did return 160K for a game of tennis, recently, only after they were exposed. Do you seriously think that they are prepared to go all the way to oppose Chinas, Russias of the world? So, before you assume moral high ground, you should know that, when someone assumes role of a leader, one has to submit -economically, politically and militarily – it a very expensive enterprise in treasure and blood

    • will91

      Enough gut’s to deal with Russia or China? Forget it! The governments primary domestic political dynamic for the next few decades will be the relationship the state has with a rapidly growing Muslim population.

      • Cameron can’t even deal with Scotland without giving away power as sweeteners rather than be a politician for once.

  • ChilliKwok

    I’d say Putin is the leader of the free World. Unlike the rest he puts the interests of his own people first. Unlike the rest he’s stood up to ISIS terrorists in Syria by supporting Assad. Unlike our dhimmi western leaders, Putin’s stood up to islamic extremists at home and abroad. Unlike the expansionist warmongering EU and US he hasn’t sort to take over new territories. Unlike the EU dictatorship Putin was democratically elected. If only we had a leader of Putin’s Calibre in the UK.

    • John Byde

      Yes, and Netanyahu. They know what’s at stake.

    • Someone

      Not sure I go in for your Putin-sycophancy. His desire to do whatever is in the Russian national interest is admirable, but he’s still the head of a gangster state and in charge of a rotten core. Netanyahu on the other hand is a man I can get behind.

    • davidofkent

      ‘hasn’t sought to take over’…. Putin will lead Russia into disaster.

    • greencoat

      I’ll second that. Putin (like Netanyahu) may not be a ‘nice guy’ but he’s not ashamed to defend his homeland.

    • ggm281

      Can’t be the leader of the free world if he puts his own national interests first. They only way to be leader of the free world is to throw your own citizens under the bus and represent the interests of other nations above your own. When Putin cares more about the plight of illegal immigrants to Russia than he does ethnic Russians, he will get his own Nobel prize. Until then he is just another nationalist on “the wrong side of history”!

    • Johnny May

      “Unlike the expansionist warmongering EU and US he hasn’t sort to take over new territories.”

      Definitely, I still remember the annexation of Crimea by the US a few months ago…wait a moment, wasn’t that Russia?

      • ChilliKwok

        Only in response to the US-backed EU-Ukraine treaty which effectively annexed the Ukraine into the EU and would have made Crimea part of the EU military block -cutting off Russia’s Black Sea bases – effectively parking EU/US tanks on Russia’s front lawn.

  • global city

    I think you’d make a good fist of that, Douglas. Why not enter politics?

  • Bankotsu

    Putin can be leader of the entire world. He has qualities of a world leader.

    • mahatmacoatmabag

      Sorry but Putin can only be the leader of the oppressed world, mainly because he is either oppressing it or supplying the weapons to oppress it

  • James Mitchinson

    The vast majority Russian “investment” in Cyprus and the Netherlands is merely the routing of funds through shell companies in those jurisdictions for tax purposes, it does not represent the ultimate destination of the funds. London super-prime properties are almost always legally bought by offshore shell companies, so very little of Russian/CIS investment in UK property and other assets will show up in the direct investment data. Witness how much global investment is officially by the Cayman Islands (population 55,000).

    • Baron

      Excellent points, James.

    • did you know that if you buy a property or invest over a certain amount of money, I believe it may be as little as £350k in Cyprus, the Cypriot government will give you citizenship, which then automatically gives you citizenship of the EU. A welcoming mat for the Russian mafia.

  • you_kid

    When there is a clear world leader, we complain.
    When there isn’t, we complain again.

    How about we just get a collection of people we trust to represent our interest. A group large enough to have gravitas. Loads of different people from different places, representing 7 billion people?
    Ok, if that is too large for you, how about 500 million people, in your direct neighbourhood. Not in Africa, here, in Europe?

  • Paddy S

    I keep hoping and praying that we are in a historical cycle and that we go from our 1970s like situation and leaders to another great and successful triumvirate of leaders who energize and aid the West Reagan, John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher. But sadly fear it is not too be. When conservatives spend most of their time afraid to be what they are because it disagrees with postmodern liberal consensus we could well be doomed for a generation. At heart the West needs to find its culture and religious identity again but as long as liberals control culture, the politics will go their way.

  • Paddy S

    I keep hoping and praying that we are in a historical cycle and that we go from our 1970s like situation and leaders to another great and successful triumvirate of leaders who energize and aid the West Reagan, John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher. But sadly fear it is not too be. When conservatives spend most of their time afraid to be what they are because it disagrees with postmodern liberal consensus we could well be doomed for a generation. At heart the West needs to find its culture and religious identity again but as long as liberals control culture, the politics will go their way.

    • I am not sure if the west has that caliber of leaders any more. They’re too PC.

      • gelert

        Harper does his best. Unfortunately, soon to be replaced by Justine 😉

  • Hussein Obama is asleep

    • mahatmacoatmabag

      not asleep merely awaiting fresh instructions from Moscow

  • stephengreen

    “There was also a time when whole swaths of the map being overrun by
    Islamic groups who make al-Qa’eda look like Quakers would have caused
    concern to the civilised world.”

    Erm, the neo-con interventionism that Douglas continually champions is the mother and father of this situation. Not just in removing those authoritarian and corrupt powers that the West feels that it cannot deal with any longer, but in offering comprehensive support and creating a focal point for those who seek to usurp them. A bit of humility would not go amiss here.

    Let us finally, finally, accept, that democracy, such as it is, is a development, that if it is suited to anyone at all (debatable), is purely applicable to Western European societies out of whose sociobiology it grew. In tribal and religiously stratified societies such as the ME, either the land needs to be parcelled out into slivers of unviable territory, each ruled by local tribes and perhaps federated together, or we have to accept corruption and brutality from above where the alternatives are otherwise more threatening to us and our interests.

    P.S. ‘swaths’?

    • Matthew Symington

      Well said, sir.

  • trace9

    “.. Everyone knew which government might have handed powerful surface-to-air missiles ..”

    You’re just as bad as the rest Murray, when it Comes Down even to speaking/writing about it. – Everyone KNOWS who Gave them the missiles. PUTIN DID!

  • cambridgeelephant

    UKIP are about to select someone in Thanet South who could fill the gap.

    More than the current bunch of glow worm’s armpits anyway.

  • mahatmacoatmabag

    Douglas Murray wrote: Wanted: a leader for the free world

    Well Douglas , there is one , he is the only free world leader actually fighting Islam and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu

    • Mike

      Couldn’t agree more, the man knows his enemy, he knows how to deal with them and wont put up with any adjacent s*** from the cowards that are supposed to lead the west.

  • avi15

    There is no question has a crisis of leadership. But this seems to affect all our leaders, throughout society. As a civilisation, the West has lost confidence in its traditional values and, apart from Israel, is no longer electing leaders with any profound vision. This is really serious, obviously.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s not accidental. It started around 1968 and has been a Long March. The public narrative in the UK is now dominated by views which expressed before 1968 would have been considered barmy and extremist. It’s been dippy hippy women and their fellow-travelling “men” mainly.

      • avi15

        I agree. Another way of putting it is that Islam only became a major problem for European civilisation again, once the latter started to exhaust itself. Essentially, unless we rediscover the values that made us great, and unless that rediscovery then manifests in a choice of better leaders, we will be destroyed by the barbarian depredations that the likes of ISIS and Hamas represent; just like a rotten door can be easily kicked in.

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        Hastened considerably in their march by the despicable Clinton and Blair.

  • Mike

    One can throw part of the blame at the USA and rightly so BUT the EU leaders and the commission should share that blame as well. The USA and the EU are approximately the same size but EU leaders are too busy looking at being re-elected, fiddling about with the euro, giving more powers to Brussels rather than addressing this crisis. They at least should match Americas response to this genocide for these reasons.

    EU countries are much closer to the threat of ISIS but as usual are doing nothing. They also have an increasing population of people of the Islamic faith where there’s a breeding ground for terrorism but we do little to stop it. In fact, political correctness has hijacked the EU, its countries and its governments to the point they are helpless and useless against Islamic militancy. Failure to stop the rot now will inevitably result in a over reaction when things get far worse and there’s Islamofascists on our streets killing people. Extremists are already attacking Jews and others on our streets and Camerons lack of response just emboldens them to ratchet up the hate crimes to the point when they’ll kill if they haven’t already.

    Its ironic that an organisation (EU) that was formed with the explicit rationale to prevent further wars in Europe now stands by like a spare p**** at a wedding whilst all this mayem, slaughter and killing moves closer and closer to our borders. Sooner rather than later our enemy will be at the gates, many of us know it, some of us are slowly waking up to the threat but our leaders lack the cajones to put measures in place to protect us from this threat.

    Enoch Powell was right about the rivers of blood but wrong about the cause, but it will start happening in Europe and soon unless a leader is found who can stand up and be counted.

    • Hamburger

      You are quite right . Unfortunately the strongman in Europe is Mrs Merkel. Her preferred course of action is to ignore a problem until is goes away. This works quite well were in Germany. However internationally the problems do not go away. The rest of Europe lines up behind here nodding sagely at the problem while agreeing that the best course of action is inaction. Our decadence will not save us.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Oh, the EU is doing something. It is trying to make criticism of Islam a criminal offence.

  • taytelbaum

    Article score: 6+; pic score: infinite high

  • Peter Stroud

    By God, we certainly need world leaders at this time. But what about our esteemed world leader? He is still on holiday, and has refused to recall parliament, because there is no need for armed intervention in Iraq. Parliament was right to outvote him on helping the ‘good rebels’ in Syria. But now the ‘bad rebels’ from Syria (the good ones were all but defeated over a year ago) have moved into Iraq, and are murdering thousands of people in cold blood. And there are, we are told, five hundred Brits in the IS murder squad. Should this not be a wake up call, a possible call to arms, Mr Cameron?

    • Colonel Mustard

      He couldn’t do much anyway. He has denuded our Royal Air Force and prefers to give borrowed money away to foreign powers and fake charities.

  • Mike

    The root cause of our leaders inaction is the west has by and large been
    taken over by the left wing appeasement lobby in all governmental agencies who blindly believe you can deal with the rabid dogs that Islam has spawned. As we saw with Hamas, they have no intention of having a peace with Israel as they want its destruction and likewise in the UK, hate mongers like Anjem Chowdary and others want Sharia law for everyone, no ifs no buts but total.

    In the naive beliefs of Labours multiculturalism & political correctness and continued by Cameron, the establishment have created two classes in the country, those that have to abide by the laws of the land and those who ignore the laws. No one will prosecute them except for the most heinous of crimes and even then, it might not happen. Just as kids learn very quickly that if mum or dad doesn’t punish them for some minor transgression, they’ll push the envelope further and carry out a major one. Its no different when you give preferential treatment to a minority group as has happened in the UK. They’ll keep pushing that envelope until they get what they want unless the authorities crack down on them.

    It doesn’t matter that 95% of Muslims are moderate as they are irrelevant in the scheme of things that ISIS has enacted in Iraq & Syria and is planning for the west once its taken over the middle east. We have plenty of home grown hate mongers just waiting for that moment they feel emboldened to strike at us and in the name of political correctness our leaders are enablers for these Islamofascists.

    Netanyaho understands this in Israel and makes it very clear that if you wont behave like civilised individuals in a democracy, he will do his best to crush them whatever the consequences. We desperately need just one western leader who tells the left to p*** off and stand up for our christian values, culture and freedoms before the psycho’s in Islam take over. Once one leader has the courage to stand up, I’m sure others will follow but who that will be, is a moot point.

  • lakelander

    Just as the aftermath of WW1 brought appeasement, the consequence of Bush and Blair’s misbegotten adventures are an unwillingness to get re-involved in the mid-East. It’s human nature.

  • edithgrove

    Well no one can make al-Qa’eda look like Quakers, but Clifford Longley on Thought for the Day this morning had a good shot at telling us Islam is still the religion of Peace, despite all the severed heads and stonings, and Isis were a bunch of chavs really who all decent muslims deplored. The US must feel they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t, and it’s August in Europe so genocide will have to wait.

    • Augustus

      If Islam is a ‘religion of peace’, why is it then that wherever Islam takes over an area it gets turned into a terror fortress? If there are peaceful Muslims then all they have to do is publicly reject murder and terrorism in the name of Allah. And all truly rational Westerners must do the same. It’s that simple.

      • edithgrove

        You have to ask Gordon that, Augustus, or the majority of reasonable muslims he names who are unhappy with Isis, if you can find one.

      • CrazyHungarian

        Islam has a different definition of peace than the western world. Their definition of peace is that final state when the world is 100% Islam and violence to achieve that state is permissible, maybe even encouraged.

    • fitz fitzgerald

      … that was embarrassing to listen to this morning… Cliff was quite comfortable with the fact that the silence from the supposedly moderate etc moslem community is deafening . As ever.

  • davidofkent

    I agree that the world is in a mess. Unfortunately, having ‘fought’ two major wars already this century, we in the West are bankrupt. Thus our choices are limited. Whilst giving aid and military equipment to the Kurds, we perhaps should allow the other muslim factions to fight amongst themselves. This would give us time to recover our economic stability and plan the resources that our armed forces may need in a few years’ time. We are in no immediate danger in national terms. We are possibly going to have to become much more concerned with the ‘enemies within’ and the authorities should be thinking seriously about that. As for other people’s wars, at the moment we should keep out.

  • NeilMc1

    You keep stating as fact that it was Russian separatists armed by Russia that shot down MH17. Where is the proof. There has been none.

    What could have been the advantage to them. Absolutely none, however the advantage to Kiev/US/EU has been enormous in portraying Putin as the bad guy, but just like most other decisions by the West, it is sure to be detrimental to us in the medium to long term.

    • Simon Delancey

      The hypothesis that MH17 was shot down by Russian separatists is supported by the fact that said separatists have been supplied with ground-to-air missiles and that they have shot down multiple Ukranian aircraft with said missiles.

      I don’t think anyone has seriously suggested that MH17 was deliberately targeted as an airliner; it seems more likely that it was a tragic accident caused by trigger-happy psychopaths firing off missiles at any and all aircraft that came near them.

      • NeilMc1

        If ‘the Proof’ is based upon the separatists having missiles, that’s weak indeed. More to the point, the Ukranian forces have many more of these missiles and have been hugely advantaged by implicating the separatists for this dreadful event.

        • Simon Delancey

          They’re cunning, those Ukrainians – they even managed to launch it from separatist territory!

          • NeilMc1

            I must have missed that announcement.

          • Peoples Liberation Front

            Wow, it’s amazing you have the psychic skills to know what a team of investigators and scientists do not know. Your application for a judge on a kangaroo court is accepted.

          • Ingenious Cognomen

            Oh look, a nekulturny Putinist tool! Amazing! Astounding! Totally unexpected! How does Putin’s backside taste to your experienced tongue, mudak?

          • Peoples Liberation Front

            Oh look an English Chav go back to your drunken tattooed women with bingo wings.

          • Peoples Liberation Front

            Oh look an English Chav. Go back you your drunken tattooed bingo winged women. Oh and your Staffie needs feeding.

    • CrazyHungarian

      There is proof in the intercepted bragging from separatist leaders to Russians when they first though that it was a Ukrainian cargo or troop carrier. These messages implicated both the separatists and the Russians. Pay attention.

      • NeilMc1

        ‘Proof’ from unnamed and unverified messages.

        Try not to be so gullible.

      • Ingenious Cognomen

        The Putin apologists will no doubt post that the intercepts were fabricated or didn’t exist or were broadcast from UFOs or whatever ludicrous propaganda Moscow is currently favouring.

    • Ingenious Cognomen

      You seem to be implying that whoever shot it down did it deliberately. Why couldn’t the downing of the airliner have been an accident, never mind which faction launched the missile? After all, we are not talking about high grade Western personnel – we are either talking about incompetent Ukranian forces or even less competent (and mostly insane) “separatists”.

      • NeilMc1

        “Mostly insane”. You have scientific and medical proof for such a ridiculous and bigoted slur.

  • Mike

    As Ronald Regan famously said “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to the problems; government is the problem” and sadly its true whilst our leaders are about as much use as chocolate fireguards !

  • John O Callaghan

    Just a few facts here.

    There was no Islamic terrorism in Iraq before the so called liberation in 2003. Saddam was a secular, middle of the road socialist who yes was a bit of a thug but he didn’t slaughter religious minorities and he had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Maybe that part of the world is better off with a few hard men runnig and feudal dynasties the place. In any event how exactly is it any of our business how they run their societies?

    What are Western values? What exactly do we have to offer them as a role model? Why don’t we sort out our own problems?

    The Ameriicans armed and trained the same people who became a problem in 2001 through the 80s’ because they were anti Soviet. Maybe the West should have just left the Russians to deal with that part of the world.

    Islamofascism as you describe it is largely funded by Saudi Arabia which for some bizarre reason is America’s best pal in the Arab world.

    As for Palestine. Hamas are not firing rockets at Israel because they are Jewish or have Western values they don’t like. They are firing rockets because the Israeli army turfed them off their land in 1948 and 1967.

    For your information Israel is a colonial settlement that was built on land stolen from Arabs.

    If the West had stayed out of the Arab world and had not shafted a modernising government in Iran in the 1850’s we wouldn’t have any of these problems.

    And if you don’t like the fact that London is now full of Muslims well sorry mate but if your ancestors hadn’t invaded and messed up Muslim places they wouldn’t be bothering you.

  • John O Callaghan

    Sorry just a correction.

    The Ameicans and Brits shafted the Mossadegh regime in Iran in 1953.

    He have the cheek to try to tell BP that the Iranians wanted to control their oil supplies.

    The Shahs who were decadent, incompetent playboys and American lackeys were installed.

    We all know what happened in 1979.

  • Thomtids

    It is almost a sort of “Northwoods by proxy”. Why bother to undertake clandestine “self-terrorism” to spark off a supine or anti-pathetic population when you can blame the Russians for blowing a civilian plane out of the sky ( when it seems pretty certain that it was the Ukrainians – oops, sorry). Or you’ve got an allegedly American-trained anti-Syrian Militia roving around the wastes of Iraq, soaking -up Bank Deposits, miscellaneous Armouries, picking up heavy artillery. These gentlemen, mostly gung-ho murderers, displaced wanna-be rich quick “jihadists” (official BBC term), loonies that go directly to Broadmoor without troubling public disquiet, who blithely and only allegedly are graphically crucifying, forcibly converting Christians, blowing up ancient monuments (a sort of reverse-National Heritage!).
    How long do they think the West are going to do nothing but lob a few missiles at them? I think that they know that. That is exactly what Obama has done. He will pay up and will talk about it and if the West did do something? So what, they’d go home, oil the AK47, repair a few cars and become civilians, just like Hamas in Gaza. If we want to stop the Arabs killing each other, and the Z’ionists are only white Arabs, we are going to have to garrison the place just like the pre-war Palestine. Only this time, the natives are not only revolting, they are bloody dangerous, well armed and very unfriendly. And we had 20,000 troops out in Palestine. It was, almost, cheaper to let the Jews patrol the place and move the troops to Egypt to take on the Italians. This time, it really will be expensive to sort out Iraq.

  • Terry Field

    Great need provides great and inspirational leadership.
    Milliband!
    The future’s bright.
    Wensleydale for all.

  • moderate Guy

    The problem is not lack of leadership; that’s just the end result of the problem. The problem is the unearned granting of the privilege of vote to anyone; and thus plurality, in many cases already a majority, of voters voting solely on the basis of the continuance and the size of the next welfare payment.

  • npbinni

    Westerners are too comfortable to be bothered. We will live to regret our complacency.

  • CrazyHungarian

    The world misses Reagan, the last true leader of the free world.

  • lichau

    Speaking as a red neck American I would like to remind those on the East side of the Atlantic that if it weren’t for the US, with the VERY considerable help of the UK and Commonwealth, every person on Earth–with the possible exception of the US itself–would be under the heel of one tyrant or another. Probably Canada due to being a suburb of the US.

    Having said that, the next time you get in a bit of a kerfuffle, why don’t you show us how it is done? You guys constantly tell us how stupid we are–lead by example for a change.

    The EU is fond of moralizing and tut-tutting, threatening to try our ex-Presidents (if they happen to be Republican) on war crimes, etc. Why don’t you show us how to handle Putin? ISIS is a lot closer to you than to us. We don’t really need Mid East oil; you have more at stake than we.

    Go for it. We will hold your coat.

  • pp22pp

    I don’t know why we are intent on a scrap with the Russians. Toppling the corrupt pro-Russian Yanukovich to replace him with our own equally corrupt “creature” was bound to create trouble. That lead directly to the downing of the airliner. Blame Victoria Nuland.

    Before Ukraine, the issue was P&55y Riot.

    I do not want to fight White, Christian Russia so that dykes can commit obscenities in public, while our own country is turned into Third World overspill.

  • TimboX

    Yes Douglas Murray, the spot is wide open for an ethical man with a good moral compass, so what are YOU waiting for?

    ** Vote Murray for prime minster! **

  • Liz

    The solution is obviously. Just ban men from politics, install a female government in every country, problem solved. It would be the single best thing humanity ever does.

    You know how women would deal with the threat of ISIS? We’d have poured trillions into education and healthcare and contraception and housing and working opportunities for their mothers instead of into tanks and missiles and sporting events and vanity projects. Instead of world security councils we’d have world conferences. Within a few generations things would be under control.

  • derekemery

    In several Arab countries the various tribes hate each other with a vengeance. All that’s kept them in control in the past have been forms of dictatorship usually with army back-up.
    The West has removed these with the somewhat brainless expectation that it would lead to a form of democracy where the tribes would respect each others human rights and form a democracy based on shared values.
    The Arab Spring has also demonstrated that you cannot expect to form a democracy following removal of dictators. The winning tribe in any election will insist on imposing its form of religion on all the others and/or killing non believers.
    A working democracy requires the implicit respect for others with differnt beleifs and cultures. You are never going to get that because religious beliefs mean that others are at best sub-human.

  • Ben

    Wanted:

    An entirely new style of leadership which places honesty,courage,leadership and duty ahead of political correctness,expenses and Twitter.

  • chrismalllory

    The job of the President of the United States is not to lead the free world or even to lead the United States. His job is to carry out the will of the American people as expressed through the laws passed by the Congress.

  • knocke

    And the Pope’s new line calling for military intervention in N. Iraq?

  • The world would first need to recognize a few simple truths.
    It’s impossible to lead by lying.

  • seanm

    I can’t help but see the sense of irony throughout this entire article. You talk of ISIS rampaging across Iraq yet these are a similar bunch to the rebels who last year our Government wanted to stand side by side with in fighting Assad.

    Go back further and it was exactly our intervention and “speaking for the free world” that led to the destruction of Iraq and the conditions whereby an organisation like ISIS can effectively take over.

    You also mention Libya and its current state, I would argue again another intervention which has left the country in ruins and make us actually less safe.

    Our foreign policy around the world in the last two decades has done more to endanger us than to act in the British national interest. Until we realise the concept of what the CIA calls “blowback”, then we are resigned to making the same mistakes over and over again.

    We are not the policeman of the world nor should we be, it’s time we put an end to our adventurism overseas.

  • NotYouNotSure

    “There was a time when having almost two hundred of your citizens blown out of the sky was a big deal for a western democracy”

    There have been a number of passenger planes shot down in the past (I found 6 according to google), not one of these created as much hysteria as this author likes to pretend. Also in none of these other incidents were many calling for regime change or even open war, they were not a big deal then.

  • rtj1211

    Perhaps having bombed 100,000+ to death in Iraq, Europeans, if not Americans, realise how much pissing in the wind 193 deaths is. It’s absolutely as appalling for all family members, but for non-affected Westerners, in comparison to Shock N Awe, nothing…..

    Assuming of course that innocent Iraqi fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children etc etc are no less valuable than Europeans. To say otherwise would brand us as racists……

    Go ask Algerians whether 193 deaths would have even registered in their civil war with France.

    Go ask Indonesians and Vietnamese whether 193 deaths due to Napalm or other American warmongering even registered.

    Etc etc etc.

    Inability to analyse this rationally is called cognitive dissonance.

    Those suffering that have no place in any Leadership structures whatever….

    The conclusion: US-EU states murder far more lethally overseas than others.

    We are therefore to expect equal levels of murdering of our own citizens.

    We don’t which tells us a lot about our ridiculous system of morals…..and we fail to recognise the incredible self-restraint of others whose decision not to carry all that tit-for-tat murdering shows them infinitely superior to us in suitability for global leadership….

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