Cameron’s Fukuyama Moment

On ConservativeHome the plaudits are coming in for Cameron’s big foreign policy speech where he distanced himself from the Neo-Conservatives. Neatly skewering Blair by disassociating himself from Bush whilst emphasising the special relationship. Danny Kruger and Steve Hilton wrote the speech and it reflects their reading of Francis Fukuyama’s After the Neo-Cons. In fact the speech lifts not only Fukuyama’s themes but the entire argument, apart from the conclusion.

A liberal conservative approach to foreign policy today is based on five propositions.

First, that we should understand fully the threat we face.

Second, that democracy cannot quickly be imposed from outside.

Third, that our strategy needs to go far beyond military action.

Fourth, that we need a new multilateralism to tackle the new global challenges we face.

And fifth, that we must strive to act with moral authority.

Those five points effectively precis After the Neo-Cons. In it Fukuyama writes

“the difficult question is exactly how the competing goals of legitimacy and effectiveness should be balanced”

Cameron says in his speech

“In deciding the most appropriate instrument for action, we will need to balance two factors: legitimacy, and effectiveness. These factors tend to work in opposite directions”

Interestingly although the arguments, phrasing and structure are the same, the conclusion is different. Fukuyama concluded the occupation of Iraq to be a mistake, Cameron has not followed the logic of the argument to that end. Not so much a dodgy dossier, more a dodgy conclusion…




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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond uses a trip to Berlin to mock the Foreign Secretary:

“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. Wise words with some applicability to the Brexit negotiations although I try to discourage talk of “cake” amongst my colleagues.”

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