Sunday 7 January 2007

The Test of Brown's Independence from Bush: Will he oppose Bush's plans for a troops surge in Iraq?

On Tuesday it is confidently expected that Bush will announce a "surge" of additional troops into Iraq in a desperate last ditch attempt to pacify the state. Bush and Blair's hope is that this will enable America and Britain to reduce their commitment of military resources and allow US and British companies to get on with exploiting Iraq's vast oil wealth, as exposed in today's Independent.

At the same time it has become increasingly public knowledge that the Bush regime has given the ok to Israel to prepare a missile and/or air attack on Iran.

It is almost impossible to find any expert commentator that believes the "troops surge" strategy will work. In fact most agree with General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of Nato, that the "surge strategy will backfire."

Where is the New Labour leadership in all this?

Clearly the Prime Minister must be aware of the Bush policy decision on both Iraq and Iran and by his silence we can only judge that he is supporting Bush once again.

The real test of judgement and leadership over these issues falls not on Tony Blair but on Gordon Brown.

In his interview with Andrew Marr today, despite supporting the invasion of Iraq and supporting every foriegn policy measure demanded of Britain by Bush and Blair, the Chancellor is now assuring us that if he becomes leader Britain will pursue a more independent foreign policy from the Bush administration.

Well here is the first oportunity for Gordon Brown to demonstrate how independent his foreign policy would be.

As General Clark states in Iraq "the neocons' vision has failed." Britain needs to differentiate itself from the failed and increasingly dangerous Middle East policy of George Bush.

I will be tabling an Early Day Motion on the first day of Parliament tomorrow which will express opposition to any further increase in US or British troops in Iraq and to an Israeli attack on Iran. The EDM will call for the development of an exit strategy for Britain from Iraq based upon diplomacy not miltary action and on the political engagement of Iran and Syria in securing peace in Iraq.

The test of the Chancellor's new found independence will be whether he publicly supports this approach or remains silent whilst the Bush regime blunders further into igniting the Middle East.