Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nick Clegg's bland speech at the UN

Here is a link to Nick Clegg speaking to the UN.

Top points:

The prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation is another huge priority for the international community. The UK welcomes the success of the NPT Review Conference this May and I can assure the Assembly that we will continue to play our part in making the world safer from the threat of nuclear weapons.
Extending Trident, apart from being a ludicrous waste of £100 billion at a time of savage cuts to services to people, is a provocation and an invitation to other states to get the same WMD "security" blanket that the UK is supposed to enjoy. The only rational use of Trident is as a bargaining chip in a process of global elimination of nuclear weapons.

Effective peacebuilding, motherhood and apple pie can address the underlying causes of conflict and strengthen local, regional and national capacity to contribute to long-term stability in fragile States.
(see if you can spot the four words I added to his speech)
Real peacebuilding requires:
  1. Inhibition of formation of dictatorships
  2. UN to address the widespread problem of separatist tensions, conflicts, and wars
  3. Demilitarisation, since the world is STILL spending on arms every two weeks the amount of money required to keep the whole world fed, watered, doctored and educated for one year.
The UK remains fully committed to the mission to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan. 
The only way to do this is by buying the opium crop and using it to ease terminal pain in Africa. 

The work of international institutions must continue to be guided by the values on which those institutions were founded: the rule of law – both domestic and international; the right to freedom of expression and belief; democracy; and equality before the law.
These values are sometimes described as ‘Western’ values – but only by people who do not know their history. Four centuries ago, the great Mughal emperor Akbar was legislating for religious freedom and equality in what is now India, while in parts of Europe ‘heretics’ were being burned at the stake.
Good point. Credit where it is due. Also the example of Cyrus the Great. And the story of Kaveh the blacksmith, an early popular revolutionary.

The UK will therefore continue to push for human rights across the world. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the UN has developed a global legal framework of human rights standards. We want to see the Human Rights Council do more to ensure that states implement their obligations and use the 2011 Review to improve the Council’s ability to respond effectively to situations of concern, such as the outrageous abuse of democracy and human rights in Burma. Good. I will write to him concerning the Index of Human Rights, including the part concerning the prevention of the slide into dictatorship.

The United Kingdom will also show leadership by example. As fierce advocates of the international rule of law, we will practice what we preach. No nation can insist on the law, and then act as though it is above it.

Is this a coded attack on David Milliband's sanctioning of torture while at the Foreign Office?

So, some good points, but overall a speech with a feeble scattering of content.



Hello Doc Dick - I hope you're well.

Trident is clearly only a deterrent; it is worthless as a first strike or retaliation weapon.

As a deterrent we actually only need one of them and it certainly doesn’t need to be based in an ancient submarine.

With countries like Iran flexing their nuclear muscles it could be argued that Trident is no longer a deterrent.

DocRichard said...

I think it is possible that, given the political will, we could negotiate nuclear stockples down to zero.

Colin Hines had the interesting idea many years ago that the UN should have ONE nuclear weapon ready to be assembled to deter any rogue state the might show signs of relapsing into the nuclear psychosis.

Dan Plesch is worth reading on general nuclear disarmament. He envisions copying and pasting the START agreement all over the world on a regional basis.

The most important idea to get into our heads at this stage is to believe that general nuclear disarmament is indeed possible.