Monday, February 21, 2011

Well, what can the EU do apart from emitting hot air?

It goes without saying that I do not agree with those who think that somehow or other the scenes from Libya (or Egypt, or Bahrain, or Tunisia) are an inspiration to us all except to start thinking a bit. No, we are not in the same situation. We elected the shower that is in government here and that is more than the people of Libya etc etc can say. Furthermore, riots are nasty things as some of the stories that have come out prove it. The story of the vicious attack on the CBS journalist has been spun by some as something that can happen only in Muslim countries. Don't you believe it.

There is no real point in my blogging about those exciting events (however they may turn out in the short or longer term) as the media is covering them fairly extensively. No, I have no idea why David Cameron has jetted off to Egypt and why he thinks it necessary to be the first European leader (if one can use such an expression) to talk to the military in charge of that country. I'd like to think that he is there to tell them that the good times are over and they'll be getting aid no more but, somehow, I doubt it. Perhaps, he is negotiating an even bigger chunk of aid.

Meanwhile, there has been a certain amount of brouhaha about some European reactions to events in Libya in this case. EU Observer reports somewhat disingenuously that Italy and Czech Republic back Gaddafi despite bloodbath. Not a particularly wise thing to do as Gaddafi seems to have fled with a very slim chance of ever coming back.

It seems that our old friend the Common Foreign Policy has once again gone AWOL.
The EU is struggling to speak with one voice following a massive loss of life in Libya over the weekend and the regime's vow to fight protesters to the "to the last bullet. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has spoken of her "extreme concern," while Rome does not want to "disturb" strongman Moammar Gaddafi and Prague has warned of a "catastrophe" if he falls.
One can't help suspecting that the catastrophe Italy is talking about is the possible flood of refugees from Libya.

But what of the Czech Foreign Minister, Karel Scwarzenberg? Ought he not speak up against a tyrant and for the people's desires to have freedom? It seems that what he said was something a little different. As EU Observer puts it:
"If Gaddafi falls, then there will be bigger catastrophes in the world," he told journalists in the EU capital on Sunday. "It's no use for anyone if we intervene there loudly, just to prove our own importance."
In other words, Baroness Ashton should stop sounding off on something neither she nor the rest of the EU can do anything about. With which sentiment one can heartily agree.


  1. Perhaps, he is negotiating an even bigger chunk of aid.

    Do you mean he's begging them to take even more? Twit.

  2. Wouldn't surprise me, Renminbi. That is the way our politicians think if thinking is quite the way to describe it.

  3. I hear that William Hague (a 'Foreign Secretary', apparently) has announced Britain is to charter a plane to LIbya to enable Britons to return home safely.
    I have always been fascinated by this type of response when confronted by situations like that presently taking place in the Maghreb compared with our total inertia whilst Mugabe plundered his country and murdered (ongoing I assume) thousands upon thousands of his own countrymen.

  4. Many of the British in Libya have already been evacuated. I am not sure what you are saying Mr T. Evacuating one's own countrymen in times of trouble is normal practice. Evacuating all Zimbabweans would not have been feasible.

  5. I was just trying to contrast this recent response with that of the Government at the time who seemed to sit back and 'not upset' Mugabe and let the suffering land-owners etc 'get on with it'.
    I have always had the impression that many British Passport holders had been ignored in the mess at the time and all the Government did was waffle and do nothing constructive.
    I stand to be better informed.

  6. Some British passport holders managed to get here, I believe. Others, British and non-British left the country. The question in Libya was about people who are not simply passport holders for whatever reason but British working there (or, madly, holidaying). It is, I repeat, normal practice for all countries to do this. In fact, when the British authorities were slower in Egypt than many others they were criticized quite extensively.