Dylan Jones’ new book Cameron on Cameron is a series of interviews with the Conservative leader. Previous ToryDiaries focused on highlights discussing the economy and taxation and other politicians. Below are some highlights of Cameron’s responses relating to foreign policy.
Europe: “[I]t’s exciting that there are strong centre right leaders across Europe now – Sarkozy, Merkel – who are making the running on things like the environment and economic growth and some of the social policies we’ve talked about… To have a French President who wants to integrate into NATO, who’s pro-American, who thinks that Iran is a problem rather than a country to do business with regardless, these are huge breakthroughs. But at the same time you have always got to respect the fact that there really are some genuine differences over our attitude towards European defence, over our attitude towards the reform of the common agricultural policy.”
Flashpoints in Eastern Europe: “I think there are certain areas where there are difficult decisions to be made over Georgia and Ukraine and whether or not they should be full members of NATO. I think it would be better if we were clear and straightforward and said yes… Obviously there is still a set of problems in the Balkans, with Serbia very unhappy about the greater independence of Kosovo. Again, I think we have to be absolutely clear: Kosovo could not simply remain part of Serbia in the light of everything that has happened – that was just not possible. The people of Kosovo are entitled to independence, but that must not mean borders elsewhere in the Balkans are reopened.”
The size of Britain’s armed forces: “There is a very strong case for a bigger army, and this will sound like a fudge but it isn’t meant to be: what we need is a defence review based on our national security, not on Treasury guidelines, and that will tell us either that we need to reduce the commitments that we have or we need to increase spending.”
Global interventionism: "I’ve always described myself as a liberal Conservative: liberal, because we do support the spread of human rights, and democracy around the world, but Conservative because before intervening I think you have to demonstrate a practicality and a scepticism and ask all the difficult questions about the consequences of your involvement… [Blair] was too eager to get involved."
Democratisation: "A neo-con would say, to hell with that, let’s just drop the democracy in from the back of a plane at 40,000 feet … [but] democracy without the rule of law and without human rights and without a strong civil society doesn’t really work. The problem in Zimbabwe is not that they don’t have elections; it’s that all the other bits of civil society have been destroyed."
Afghanistan: "[I]t’s right that our troops will be there for some time to come, indeed for quite a long time… If you look at some of the original intentions in Afghanistan, getting rid of the Taliban was obviously the right thing to do."
Energy security: “I think energy security is a huge challenge, in terms of oil reaching an incredibly high price, the fact that the supply won’t last forever, that North Sea oil is running down, that we’re going to be more reliant on gas from unstable parts of the world. I think that energy security needs to sit alongside foreign policy and we should take a much more strategic view about our relationships with countries that could help to give us greater energy security in the future."