Britain and the US have contributed to instability in the Middle East by supporting autocratic regimes that suppress human rights, David Cameron has said. The Prime Minister said that popular uprisings now flaring across the Middle East showed the West had been wrong to support dictators and oppressive regimes.
Speaking to the Kuwaiti Parliament, Mr Cameron said Britain would back democracy campaigners seeking greater rights across the Middle East. “History is sweeping through your neighbourhood,” he said. “Not as a result of force and violence, but by people seeking their rights, and in the vast majority of cases doing so peacefully and bravely.”
Britain and other Western countries supported Hosni Mubarak, ousted by protests in Egypt. They have also backed authoritarian regimes in the Gulf region, making few efforts to push allies towards democratic reform.
That approach was wrong and counter-productive, Mr Cameron said…
He said that Britain’s economic and security interests would ultimately be advanced by a more democratic Middle East. “Our interests lie in upholding our values – in insisting on the right to peaceful protest, in freedom of speech and the internet, in freedom of assembly and the rule of law.”
Mr Cameron’s call for reform could be seen as heralding a new approach to countries like Saudi Arabia, where the Western-backed royal family firmly opposes democratic reform…
Anyone expect a new approach to the Saudi royal family from Congress or the White House?
“There is no single formula for success, and there are many ways to ensure greater, popular participation in Government,” he said. “We respect your right to take your own decisions, while offering our goodwill and support.”
“But we cannot remain silent in our belief that freedom and the rule of law are what best guarantee human progress and economic success, and that each country should find its own path to achieving peaceful change.”
This is the voice of an English conservative. Can you imagine, say, a Republican candidate for president saying this? How about Barack Obama? Sarah Whatshername?
It’s been about a century since American conservatives spoke out against imperialism. Western complicity in profit-taking has always overruled the essential benefits of commerce and communications.