James Forsyth

As Brown heads to America, Cameron hits out at Iraq policy

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With Gordon Brown en route to Camp David, David Cameron has chosen to deliver his sharpest criticism of Iraq to date; telling the Sunday Times that we must “Learn the lessons of Iraq. Liberal democracy can’t be dropped from a distance of 45,000ft. Order and stability must come first. A bit of scepticism is needed in the mix. Tony Blair’s foreign policy was liberal interventionism, without a reality check.”

Cameron’s comments will actually help Brown in his relationship with the Bush administration as they reinforce the point that there is no pro-American alternative waiting in the wings. While the ideological divisions on the Tory front bench and the fact that the vast majority of Tory MPs—including Cameron—voted for the war means that Cameron will be able to make little political headway with this argument.

PS Amidst the newspaper talk about how fissures are opening up between Cameron and Osborne, this essay by George Osborne from August 2004 makes for interesting reading. Osborne concludes by saying: “We could distance ourselves from America, say the Iraq war was a mistake, bring home our troops (including my brother-in-law) and appease the terrorists in a multitude of other ways. It might buy us time, it might not. But it would not save us.”

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is political editor of The Spectator.

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