Nick Clarke chaired this week’s Any Questions from Hanbury, Worcestershire
JACQUI SMITH MP, Chief whip
BORIS JOHNSON MP, Shadow Higher Education Minister
CHRIS HUHNE MP, Lib Dem Environment & Rural Affairs spokesman
QUENTIN LETTS, Daily Mail parliamentary sketch-writer
Does the panel think that the United States needs to bring its diplomacy out of the stoneage?
The Chair clarified the question as referring to Richard Armitage from the State Dept., quoted by the President of Pakistan that Pakistan would be bombed into the stoneage if they didn’t co-operate after the 9/11 attacks.
CH thought that US diplomatic outfit “extremely good” but there was a question as to the leadership from The White House. He thought the current US policy extremely anti-diluvian towards the freedom of manoeuvre that countries can have. He wished we’d been more independent in drawing to the attention of the White House the long term damage US foreign policy on Iraq and, more recently, the Lebanon, had caused.
Boris thought that, as far as he knew, the quote by Mr Armitage had been denied. He stated that the fact is, it’s the kind of thing you can imagine someone from the Bush administration saying and that “that is the terrible truth”. This does feed into the kind of anti-Americanism which is sadly on the rise. Boris thought it a “great shame” that the Bush administration, by the use of that “cowboy language” at the beginning of the War on Terror did provoke international disquiet, and in the minds of a lot of sensible people in this country is starting to feed suspicions and anxiety about America. Boris thought that would be “tragic”. But there’s no doubt that things that do come out of the Bush administration do feed into that caricature. “If they want our support and they deserve our support” said Boris, “they have to be a little bit more diplomatic in the way they engage the rest of the world’s sympathy.”
JS agreed with Boris and reminded everyone that Bush wouldn’t always be President.
QL thought Richard Armitage looked like a wrestler and that his diplomacy seemed to match his appearance.
Continue reading Boris on Any Questions, Radio 4, 22.9.06