Posts Tagged ‘david cameron’

Romney in the Land of the Anglo-Saxon Uncertain Olympics: Not Ready for Prime Time

July 27th, 2012 Comments off

Mitt Romney, astonishingly, managed to turn what should have been an easy set of photo-ops and feel-good platitudes into a diplomatic comedy of errors that raise strong questions about his readiness for the presidency.

First, an adviser to the Romney campaign referred to “our” common Anglo-Saxon heritage with the United Kingdom, and said that President Obama doesn’t share that sentiment (apparently because one drop of African blood not only makes one African, it wipes out empathy for all other racial groups). Romney said that he did not agree with whoever the official in his campaign was, who made that observation. Note that Romney appeared to acknowledge that some official close to him did say it.

Then, Romney said, in an interview with Brian Williams, of London’s Olympic games,

“”You know, it’s hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because there are three parts that makes Games successful.”

Why would you use language like “disconcerting” and “not… encouraging” about the London Olympics on a diplomatic tour? Is Romney so competitive that his Salt Lake City Olympics has the be the best ever? Is he also running for Prime Minister of the UK against his host David Cameron? Is he just better than everybody else?

The government of Prime Minister David Cameron was furious at Romney’s slam at London. A senior British foreign ministry official told the Guardian: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”

Cameron had been put in a difficult position by Romney’s visit, because protocol does not allow the British government to treat him as it would an elected head of state. But Cameron bent over backwards to accommodate Romney, only to be blindsided.

Then David Cameron was, like, “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” He was having fun with Romney’s boasts about his role in the Salt Lake City Olympics, in Utah.

Then a spokesperson for the mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker, said: “(David Cameron) can stop by any time. We’d love to have him and are happy to send a map so he doesn’t run into any trouble locating the middle of nowhere.”

Then Romney met secretly with the head of MI6 (British overseas intelligence), which was supposed to be a secret meeting. He casually announced that he had met with the official. That sort of thing is supposed to be kept confidential in the UK.

Imagine that you were hiring a consultancy firm to go in and make good relations with a foreign concern. And imagine that the guy you sent in starts a shouting match between that company and your own because of his incompetence.

Would you later on hire the same consultant to prepare the way for an even bigger deal with multiple companies?

While it is all in good fun, there is some real annoyance being generated here.

If Romney couldn’t get the UK right, you wouldn’t want him leading the free world.

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PM urges peaceful change in Syria

March 14th, 2012 Comments off

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama will discuss Syria, as well as plans for Afghanistan, at their White House meeting.
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Somali issues

February 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Much of this coverage contains an internet-related element

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Somali militants target addicts in UK’s ‘khat cafes’  

Guardian, Somali community in Britain begins to find its voice

"Britain’s Somalis have talks with David Cameron about problems of jobs, poverty, stress and image …"

Guardian, al-Shabaab: the Somali militant group
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Cameron: ‘Iran & Hezbollah are propping up that "wretched tyrant!"

January 19th, 2012 Comments off

(Reuters)-“…British Prime Minister David Cameron accused Iran and Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah movement of helping to prop up Assad, whom he described as “a wretched tyrant.”
“Britain needs to lead the way in making sure we tighten the sanctions, the travel bans, the asset freezes, on Syria,” Cameron told parliament in London. …”

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UK warns Iran over embassy attack

November 30th, 2011 Comments off

UK Prime Minister David Cameron warns Iran of “serious consequences” after protesters stormed the British embassy and a UK compound in Tehran.
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Libya: ‘Hardest part’ still ahead

September 15th, 2011 Comments off

UK Prime Minister David Cameron praises Libya’s post-Gaddafi authorities but says the “hardest” part of the transition to a new era lies ahead.
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UK army abuse ‘must not be repeated’

September 8th, 2011 Comments off

Events leading to the death of Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa in British army custody should never be allowed to happen again, PM David Cameron says.
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UK PM wants Libya rendition inquiry

September 5th, 2011 Comments off

British Prime Minister David Cameron says claims MI6 was involved in the rendition of Libyan terror suspects should be investigated, as an alleged victim demands an apology from the UK and US.
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No, Prime Minister

August 12th, 2011 Comments off

My brief here is the Middle East, and I’m not going to involve myself in any lengthy analysis of events elsewhere. Like anyone who loves London, I’m distressed, alarmed, and angered by the anarchy in London in the past few days. But I have no comments on the politics of the issue. But yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that it may be necessary to put restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, and Blackberry Messenger posts, in order to limit the ability of the bad guys to plan new looting attacks.

No, Prime Minister. I know the UK doesn’t have the First Amendment with its protections of freedom of assembly and expression, but somewhere between the Field of Runnymede in 1215 and Fleet Street today, it has developed a tradition of free expression. Yes, there are limits. Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater and all that. But don’t shut down or control media most people are using innocently. Then you start to look like you’re rolling down that slippery slope towards Syria on July 3:

or towards Egypt on January 27:
I know,of course, you aren’t suggesting that. But the country that wrote Magna Charta is also the country that invented the Court of Star Chamber, and even the US and its sacred First Amendment has been diddling at the margins in the name of counter-terrorism. I don’t like tampering with the freedom of social networks, at least until the bombs are falling on Pearl Harbor.

Let me clarify that I have no qualms about the idea of using Facebook and Twitter posts to prosecute somebody. Monitor them, sure. (Of course, they’re monitoring you. It’s the Internet, a relatively open system.) Use their posts to prosecute them: fine. Did they really think that posts on a semi-public network would not be accessible to the authorities? Well, Duh. If they preach rebellion, go after them. If they advocate violence, there are laws against that.

My problem is the idea that you might need to shut down or restrict non-inciting but dissident speech, or that these laws could be used to read everybody’s E-mail, or censor Twitter.

Enforce the laws, but let’s think seriously before we advocate scrapping some of our most ancient traditions. Ben Franklin said something like, those who give up fundamental freedoms for a little temporary security deserve neither freedom nor securiiy.  Britain, “Mother of the Free,” deserves both. Don’t go there, Mr. Cameron.

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Cameron’s "rolling out the red carpet for Bahrain’s torturer-in-chief…"

May 20th, 2011 Comments off

“… David Cameron raised concerns over the use of violence against protesters in Bahrain (as he) met with Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa at his home at London’s Downing Street for discussions on the uprisings across the Middle East and north Africa, ….  Al Khalifa’s visit with Cameron — who posed for photographs shaking the leader’s hand outside Downing Street — comes after he declined an invitation to Prince William’s royal wedding …. In talks, Cameron “emphasized his support for the crown prince…”

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