January 29, 2001
written a column attacking "Globalism
on the Right." As anyone who knows The Raimondo would expect,
punches are not pulled.
particular target is an article
in The Times (London)
by their news editor Michael Gove. Michael Gove, in typically controversial
fashion titles his article "We must fight the good fight for
jingoism," but jingoism does not mean what we expect. When
I use the term jingoism I tend to mean a blind support for my country’s
war crimes, and a hopelessly wide idea of what are "national
strategic interests" or as Mr Gove put it "bellicose adventurism."
Michael Gove the term is different. It means focusing on the country’s
strategic interests, yet rejecting the narrowly parochial strategic
priorities of isolationists such as me (although I have no doubt
I was not in his mind). One can take him to task for his use of
the word jingoism, it is obviously designed to catch attention to
his views and his adoption of the word was over enthusiastic. Any
confusion and resulting vitriol coming from the use of the term
is entirely Mr Gove’s fault, and a price I’m sure he’s prepared
to pay for the resulting attention his views receive.
to the merits of the case. The subtitle "the West has to remain
capable of robust and decisive military action", is a statement,
to me at least, of the obvious. The question is not the means, but
the aim. He writes that the policy of the Blair administration is
too well meaning and fuzzy for a grown up world. They are imprudently
spreading shrinking military forces throughout the globe, serving
little strategic interest. Strike two for Mr Gove.
then mentions a "neo-isolationist" coalition of left and
right. Intriguingly he mentions two British figures on the Left,
George Galloway and Bruce Kent, but on the Right, he mentions Pat
Buchanan and Jean Marie Le Pen. One thing that I know for certain
about the latter two gentlemen is that neither is British. This
is in itself an interesting comment on the state of neo-isolationism
in Britain, but I digress. Here we start to see the real meat of
the article; it is not an exercise in rehabilitating the term jingoism,
but a careful exercise in triangulation. Mr Gove is trying to put
distance between those dreadful radicals, and his point of view.
There is some dissent and radicalism in Mr Gove’s views otherwise
why does he try so hard to erect the straw men of neo-isolationism?
underscore the radicalism Mr Gove further tries to tone it down
by bringing in respectable sponsors; men like George Bush and William
Hague. That these men both backed the Kosovo adventure, which should
define opposition to Clinton-Blair foreign policy, but it seems
important that they are roped in. That they are more inclined to
Mr Gove’s views than Tony Blair would be is not in doubt, but they
have hardly travelled the whole mile.
Gove does have a clear idea about the sheer scope of the ambitions
of the "New World Order" (a term that I try to avoid like
the plague). Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Colombia,
Kurdistan and South Asia. Just listing them is mind boggling, as
is the fact that these are all areas that the British or American
government have pronounced on. Why? And why no debate?
this promising start, we get to the issue of Saddam Hussein. To
summarise, Mr. Gove does not like the man and believes ousting him
should be a strategic policy. Sensibly, he does not mention oil
(the embargo on Iraq has hardly eased the present oil shortage,
although I have no idea why a low oil price is in the interests
of an oil exporter like Britain). There are his (unused) weapons
of mass destruction, which do not seem to have isolated India
or Pakistan, but Saddam is somehow different. Perhaps it is his
agents, as far afield as "Bangkok and the Balkans." Of
course, that is not the case of countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia
or Turkey. Their agents are all over the place. Then there
is the article that the rogue leaders are different, they are prepared
to starve their people (trade embargoes aside of course). This is
proof that they are not as rational as the good old Soviet Union,
which never starved its own population, or at least its non-Ukrainian
population. Mutually assured destruction is not an option with these
rogue states, although I am dreadfully curious why we have not had
a nuclear, chemical or biological punch up just yet.