Not the British forces of old.12:00 PM, Oct 21, 2010 • By GARY SCHMITT
“It could have been much worse.” That’s the line many of my British friends are putting forward about the cuts to the British defense budget announced by the new Tory government this past week. And they’re right.
Decline is a choice. 10:49 AM, Sep 17, 2010 • By ROBIN SIMCOX
European governments have long forgotten that their primary task is the defense of those they govern. The two most prominent European powers, France and Great Britain, spend only 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, of their GDP on military spending – amounting to less than what Djibouti and Namibia each spend on their militaries, in proportion to their GDP.
The former prime minister's memoir. 2:00 PM, Sep 10, 2010 • By MICHAEL WEISS
Old wounds shall be worried anew; stale arguments shall be leavened once more.
Tony Blair’s record-shattering memoir, A Journey, which has been marketed for its salacity of disclosures about Gordon Brown (emotionally unintelligent, blackmailing), the Queen (lunch-maker and dish-washer), and Princess Diana (dangerously emotional, manipulative) was published on a day when its author wasn’t even in England but the Labour party was in the midst of deciding its next leader.
Investigating abuse claims that have been investigated and dismissed before – repeatedly.3:47 PM, Jul 13, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his government has agreed to investigate torture allegations made by former Guantanamo detainees. The inquiry is expected to last one year. And, according to Cameron, it will look into claims that British officials knew of “improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in counterterrorism operations overseas, or were aware of improper treatment of detainees in operations in which the UK was involved.”
Republicans, if they learn from Conservatives, can avoid big blunders.12:15 AM, May 9, 2010 • By FRED BARNES
Conservatives came in first in Thursday’s election in Great Britain, but it’s their failure to win a majority that Republicans should examine for the lessons it teaches. If the GOP listens, they’ll improve their chance of winning control of Congress in the congressional midterm election on November 2.
An unlikely Tory/LibDem alliance? 12:59 PM, May 7, 2010 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
At the moment, it is reasonable to assume that the price of Britain's political system would appear to be some sort of governing coalition of the Tories and Liberal Democrats. This might take the form of a formal blue/yellow alliance, with LibDems in a Tory cabinet; or it might mean LibDem support for the Tories on certain votes (the next budget, for example) and abstention on certain issues. In any event, Gordon Brown and Labour have been unquestionably rejected, and any arrangement between Brown and the LibDem leader Nick Clegg to keep the Conservative leader David Cameron out of No 10 Downing Street would lack legitimacy, and lead to a strong rebuke at the next general election--probably in a year.
A Tory majority?
9:40 AM, May 6, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I've been looking at the polls and playing around with the ways in which different national percentages can translate into seats in the House of Commons--and for what it's worth (not much!), I think the Tories have a very good chance to win a clear majority (perhaps 25 seats) in the Commons today in the UK.
More viral than Joe the Plumber.10:32 AM, Apr 29, 2010 • By ADAM BRICKLEY
On Wednesday morning, it looked as though Gordon Brown might have stalled Cleggmania, inching back into second place in some polls. But then he met Gillian Duffy.
Duffy, a senior citizen and lifelong Labour supporter, bumped into Brown as the prime minister was leaving a meet-and-greet in the town of Rochdale. Duffy told him she was almost ashamed to say she was a Labour voter, and while she would vote for Brown, she had concerns about the national debt, taxes, and immigration. The exchange ended amicably, with Duffy wishing Brown good luck as he climbed into his car. But the prime minister forgot he was wired for sound and lashed out at his aides for allowing Duffy to speak with him. Brown branded the exchange a disaster and called Duffy a "bigoted woman" as his car was leaving the scene.
A VAT won't solve our problems.11:57 AM, Apr 8, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Paul Volcker and Ronald Reagan tamed inflation and laid the groundwork for 25 years of global economic expansion. The growth was interrupted by just two of the shortest and shallowest recessions on record. The long boom ended in December 2007, when the financial crisis metastasized and the economy went into the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. Reagan is gone, but the octogenarian Volcker advises President Obama on economic policy. Volcker's ideas on busting the banks and banning proprietary trading, when banks trade for themselves and not their customers, seem sensible. Now he's talking up the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a way to bring America's finances into balance. No thanks.
Giving al Qaeda a helping hand. 10:05 AM, Mar 2, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
From the UK, we get a Guantanamo-related story that is so ridiculous you just have to read it – with a little additional context. The story concerns six former Gitmo detainees who claim the British government was complicit in their “torture.”
The Telegraph and The Sun (see here and here) are reporting that British taxpayers are expected to shell out £30 million to lawyers who are working on an inquiry into the former detainees’ torture allegations. The inquiry is expected to last seven years (!), during which time the lawyers will review documents totaling hundreds of thousands of pages and rack up massive legal bills in the process.
Meanwhile, British forces continue to fight and die alongside U.S. Marines in the Helmand...4:10 PM, Feb 25, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
The Times of London, in a story that borders on the passive-aggressive, is reporting that President Obama has refused to endorse British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. The short skinny of this is that there's another Buenos Aires-London row over the rightful ownership of the islands (you may remember that the last such incident ended in rather poor results for Argentina), incited by a British proposal to drill off the Falklands coast. Mostly, though, it's the standard Argentinean response to poor internal economic conditions.
Britain commits her famed fighting units to Helmand.4:31 PM, Feb 19, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
As Operation Moshtarak enters its second week, Americans should take a minute to appreciate just how lucky we are to have the British fighting alongside U.S. and Afghan forces. Their vast experience in imperial counterinsurgency notwithstanding, this marks the third war that the British have fought in the Hindu Kush.
Afghanistan had a profound effect on British military culture. They were defeated on retreat from Kabul in 1842, a loss so devastating to their collective psyche that it was lamented as "the heaviest calamity that has ever fallen on British arms." The Second Anglo-Afghan War, which came at the height of the Great Game between England and Russia, slightly improved the British posture in the region (and was the inspiration for The Ballad of the King's Jest, a terrific Kipling poem).
The niqab problem.12:00 AM, Feb 11, 2010 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
Proposals to ban niqab, the face veil worn by some Muslim women, are gaining support in France and Britain. France saw its first crime by “burqa bandits” on February 6, when two men wearing head-to-foot female “Islamic” garments robbed a post office in the Parisian suburb of Athis-Mons. The men gained entrance by convincing the clerks that they were women, then lifted their veils to disclose that they were not, drew at least one firearm, and stole about $6,000.
Sticking it to taxpayers on behalf of junkies.2:13 PM, Jan 5, 2010 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
If you are a heroin addict in New York, and you want to learn how to shoot up “safely,” there’s a free flier, “Take Charge, Take Care,” produced on the taxpayers’ dime by the health department of the City of New York that will come in handy.
Margaret Thatcher, revolutionary.Jul 13, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 40 • By JOHN O'SULLIVAN
There Is No Alternative
Why Margaret Thatcher Matters
by Claire Berlinski
Basic Books, 400 pp., $27.95
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher
A Political Marriage
by Nicholas Wapshott
Sentinel, 352 pp., $25.95
A Swim-on Part in the Goldfish Bowl
by Carol Thatcher
Headline Review, 320 pp., £18.99