The voice of young liberal democrats


Cameron Needs a Geography Lesson by georgeinwashington

Cameron’s mistake could not have been mere slip of the tongue, as, whilst speaking about the need to stop redrawing ‘lines on a map’ he placed parts of Moldova and Georgia within the Russian Federation. During his visit to Washington last week, David Cameron visited the Brookings Institution to give a speech on the Balkans. Brookings, an influential and highly respected think tank always draws many of the top experts to its events and the question and answer is guaranteed to be thorough. It was here where David revealed his shaky grip on some of the major problems facing Europe. Mr Haltzel of the Center for Transatlantic Relations of John’s Hopkins University asked Cameron’s opinion on Russia’s attempt to relate the situation in the balkans to Transnustria Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Cameron answered,

You’re absolutely right, there should be no parallel between what is happening in Kosovo — where, clearly, the Kosovo people are not going to accept being part of Serbia. There’s no parallel between that, which is a special situation, and anything that might be happening in parts of the Russian Federation. And we should reassure the Russians about that. There should be no linkage between those things.

Unfortunately, as someone flying to Washington to give a major speech on foreign policy should know, Transnistria is in Moldova and Abkhazia and South Ossetia are break away republics of Georgia.Later he was asked about the ideas floated about partitioning Kosovo above the Ibar. His reply again,

There are a large number of ethnic Serbians, if you like, living in Kosovo, but not in areas contiguous to Serbia, so an attempt to redraw the boundary doesn’tsolve that problem.

The Mitrovica region, which the questioner was referring to, and contains the largest proportion of Serbs, borders Serbia. This is of course a very difficult region to master, but if you do have to take the trouble to fly to Washington to talk about it, some swotting up in the plane would have been a good idea.The full text of the speech and question and answer session can be found here

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1 Comment so far
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I am impressed by your outing of Cameron as a foreign policy ignoramus, but I don’t think his lack of knowledge, however basic, should overshadow the very important point he made about the need to re-contain Russia -even if he didn’t know it at the time.

What makes the Kosovo issue so important now isn’t just the necessity of preventing the outbreak of war on the EU border again, but also the impending standoff with Russia who will do their best to obstruct any peaceful settlement unless independence for Kosovo is taken off the table.

The last thing Europe can afford is to be dependent on Russia for the security of its borders as well as already being dependent on them for the security of its energy supplies. Unless the EU and not just the US are prepared to put their money -and their military if need be- where their mouth is, that is exactly what will happen.

Comment by londonliberal




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