Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Catham House Version

Blogger and London TimesOliver Kamm writes on Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs, which I have linked to below), questioning the assumptions and approach taken by one of the associates at this most prestiguous and establishment-friendly of Britain's foreign policy think tanks. I've written previously on my encounter with another associate, the liberal Saudi academic Mai Yamani (also here). Perhaps I've taken the excellence and objectivity of the organisation's other staff too much on trust.

[RIAA associate] Mrs Allaf is energetic, however, in conveying that she has no sympathy for:

... the extremely belligerent and irresponsible statements Bush made about Syria and Iran, practically calling on their people to rise against their government, and promising threateningly (and without much proof) to “confront the regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder.”

She takes her stand instead with those who assault Israel, literally as well as metaphorically, as she made clear in an ‘open letter’ to President Clinton five years ago:

We are determined to keep a united front. Remember, we the people have not yet begun to fight. But fight we will, literally and symbolically. Those who can’t throw rocks in frustration will at the very least throw words in determination. I hope you and your ally are ready.

I found Bush’s declaration of solidarity (which is what it was) with those suffering under totalitarianism inspiring and a prerequisite of a decent politics. I find Mrs Allaf’s solidarity with political violence despicable. But then I’m a biased blogger and columnist.