Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 21 January 2010


It is unlikely that global events will dominate the next election, and yet there are hugely significant issues going on out there that could have implications for all of us.

The dreadful events in Haiti remind us that this planet is prone to natural disasters – with or without climate change. Unfortunately it is also a tragic reminder that the United Nations is hopeless at organising relief or aid, or anything much else. It is pathologically bureaucratic and moves at the pace of its slowest part. I feel sorry for the victims of this latest disaster, but angry at how slow the relief effort has been. The UN is a great idea, but works very badly

Man made disasters are an even bigger threat. The struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan is important and has to continue, but the action against extremists in North West Pakistan is equally significant. What would happen if the government of Pakistan fell into the hands of the Islamist Fundamentalists? The rest of the world would be held to ransom. Never mind the twin towers, they could take out whole cities.

Also what if Iran does develop nuclear military capability, as seems imminent? They are pledged to wipe Israel off the map. Once Iran has the bomb, the entire Middle East region will stand on the brink of conflagration. It is certain that the United Nations does not have the will to stop them, especially as China seems determined to veto any real action against Iran from whom it buys so much of its energy.

China will within a short timescale challenge the USA as an economic power and soon thereafter in military muscle. Its government is still a rigid top down bureaucracy which seems ill-equipped to preside over such rapid economic growth. How the power game between the USA and China is played out in this decade will determine the kind of world we live in.

The only reference to foreign affairs in the next election is likely to be about Britain's role within the European Union. In terms of what might really impact our future, this is just a side show.
Britain still has a seat at the global top table and with our hard-won experience in diplomacy, peace-keeping and soft power we have a significant role to play in ensuring that this inter-dependant world stays as safe for our next generation as it has been for most of us.

posted by Gary @ 15:57