The Dreadful Continuity of British Foreign Policy

Robert Wright doesn’t think much of the foreign policy direction of the new Labour government in Britain:

[Labour shadow foreign secretary] Lammy depicts his foreign policy vision as new, but it’s pretty much the same vision that has long guided his party and comparable western parties, including the Democratic Party in America. And this vision is, in critical respects, not very different from the neoconservatism that has dominated Republican foreign policy for most of the past few decades. Lammy’s progressive realism is one of the several variants of Blobthink that have together played such a big role in creating the mess we’re in.

Wright is responding to Lammy’s article in Foreign Affairs from earlier this year, and his assessment lines up with what I wrote about it then. In my post, I focused on Lammy’s rote recitation of the conventional talking points about the “red line” episode in Syria and its supposed implications for U.S. credibility, but I also noted that it seemed as if Lammy had learned nothing from his party’s last stint in power. As I said, “I suspect Lammy is just trying to put the bad ideas of New Labour under a new label.” International relations scholar Van Jackson raised similar concerns that Lammy’s vision “shows worrying signs of rehashing Blair-style neoconservatism, which was of course disastrous.”

Continue reading “The Dreadful Continuity of British Foreign Policy”

Further Escalation Against the Houthis Makes No Sense

James Stavridis isn’t satisfied with the current pointless war against the Houthis and wants something more:

Four mariners dead. Two commercial ships sunk. One ship and 25 mariners held captive.  Global supply chains distorted. Where is a strong military response to this high seas threat?

The U.S. and Britain have been waging a war against the Houthis for the past five months, and all that they have managed to accomplish is to boost Houthi recruiting, deepen anti-American sentiment among Yemenis, and waste limited resources. What “strong” response should the U.S. consider when its military action has so far proven to be useless? Escalation was the wrong way to handle the attacks on Red Sea commercial shipping at the start of the year, and further escalation is the wrong answer today. It should be obvious by now that the Houthis are not going to be bombed into stopping their attacks. If anything, the U.S.-led military campaign has played into their hands and benefited them politically without doing much to reduce their ability to launch more attacks.

Continue reading “Further Escalation Against the Houthis Makes No Sense”

Biden’s Weird Saudi Obsession

The Financial Times reports on how Saudi Arabia “won Biden back,” and it will come as no surprise that they didn’t have to do anything:

As relations tentatively improved, the Biden administration floated the idea of a grand deal for Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with Israel. The carrot for Riyadh, long irked by what it regards as US unpredictability and a perceived lack of commitment to the Gulf’s security, was a defence treaty similar to the one the US shares with Japan, and co-operation with its nascent civilian nuclear programme.

Continue reading “Biden’s Weird Saudi Obsession”

A Saudi Treaty Is a Dangerous Trap

The Biden administration won’t give up on one of the worst ideas in the world:

The Biden administration is close to finalizing a treaty with Saudi Arabia that would commit the U.S. to help defend the Gulf nation as part of a long-shot deal to encourage diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Israel, U.S. and Saudi officials said.

But the success of the diplomatic effort hinges on Israel’s commitment to a separate Palestinian state, and more immediately an end to the war in Gaza, an unlikely proposition amid months of fruitless cease-fire talks and an Israeli weekend raid to retrieve hostages from the heart of the territory.

Continue reading “A Saudi Treaty Is a Dangerous Trap”

The US Enables Israel’s Man-Made Famine in Gaza

A veteran State Department official, Stacy Gilbert, resigned from the department this month to protest the administration’s policy and the department’s false claims that Israel isn’t blocking aid. She spoke to Akbar Shahid Ahmed about her resignation:

“It drives me crazy when people say, ‘You’re so principled for resigning,’” Gilbert said. “You can’t work in the government that long and be completely principled but I’m practical. I understand compromises and that there are trade-offs. But in the end, I know the difference between right and wrong. What happened in this report is wrong, and this report is being used to justify continuing to do what we’ve been doing.”

Continue reading “The US Enables Israel’s Man-Made Famine in Gaza”

The Incorrigible President and His Indefensible Gaza Policy

Nick Kristof makes the mistake of taking Biden at his word:

This should be an easy call, and it offers Biden a chance to rescue his failed Gaza policy, for, in this case, Biden and the World Court are fundamentally aligned [bold mine-DL]: They both oppose an all-out invasion of Rafah, and they both want Israel to allow in more humanitarian aid. But for seven months, Biden has allowed himself to be ignored and steamrolled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the question now is whether the court ruling will help Biden find the gumption to pressure Israel to obey the decision.

Continue reading “The Incorrigible President and His Indefensible Gaza Policy”