Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20-37)



Sir Patrick Cormack

  20. Could he just add whether he agrees with the analysis of Mr Rubin?
  (Professor Halliday) I hoped you were not going to ask me that. It is a simple concept but I talk about what I call the creation in the last ten years of a greater West Asian crisis. By that I mean the issues which I know, and I have been going to the Middle East since I was a student, I first went some 36 years ago, issues which I have experienced and which I have studied in my academic career which have been relatively separate: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, you can tack on Kashmir and you can tack on the Balkans. The causes are separate unless you say it is all imperialism and so on and for a long time they really were not very related. In the last ten years for a number of years you have had not just reunification of sentiment so they all become fused but you have also had the unification of the creation of this transnational very violent militia based in Afghanistan recruiting from all these areas, also from Chechnya, but also active in Yemen and in a number of other countries. In a sense they have become fused and these particular political issues are the three core ones which bin Laden and others go on about—the Sunni Muslims do but not Shiites—which is Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, and these have been fused with general discontent within these countries. Having said that, in the Gulf States the biggest problem is simply that the deal which lasted for 20 or 30 years was the ruling government saying "We will take a third of the oil revenues and the investment income and do with it what we want but we will give you education, housing, a kind of welfare state. We are not going to torture and murder lots of you" and they do not in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is not a pleasant place but it ain't Iraq and it ain't Syria. The reason I supported Kuwait in 1990 was because I knew Kuwait, I had been there as a student. It is not a perfect democracy but people speak freely, they come and go, there are newspapers. A very interesting point is the former Emir's private doctor was a leader of the opposition and he sent him on missions to talk to the people who threatened Kuwait, although he did not get anywhere. It is a society with a strong degree of civility. That worked for 20 or 30 years but now it is breaking down. Why? Partly because of this greater West Asia crisis but partly the fact that the money simply is not there. Saudi Arabia's per capita income has gone down two-thirds in the last 20 years. If you are talking about 1998 figures it has gone from US dollars 20,000 per capita to about 6,000 now. Unemployment is growing. A friend of mine, a former student of mine, is a junior minister in the Economics Ministry in the Gulf and he gets anonymous phone calls every day asking "What are you going to do about the so many tens of thousands of university graduates coming on to the market each year? Where are the jobs?" That issue of the lack of employment is tied to two other things. One is the very bad educational system and one of the big mistakes the Saudis made in the 1970s was they thought they would buy peace by packing people off into Islamic universities but these people are unemployable. No Saudi will employ them and no foreigner will employ them. They are exactly the kind of people, with degrees, with some education, who got on those planes. I can tell you sociologically with some precision who they were and what part of the country they came from. There is a clear profile there. In a province like these people came from the school teachers are the debris of Iraq and Syria, fundamentalists who were chucked out of Iraq and Syria who the Saudis employed and tacked on to the provinces. So the education system creates one problem. The second problem is people are quite simply saying "What has happened to the money?" The basic argument that people make in the Gulf is "We are not employed but there are all these rich palaces" and there is no transparency.


  21. Is there not a third problem of differential population increase?
  (Professor Halliday) In terms of?

  22. Comparing, for example, Israel and Iraq, comparing the Maghreb countries with Europe. How can one find jobs for individuals with such population explosion?
  (Professor Halliday) I remember once talking to a leader of the FLN in Algeria and he made two points. He said "Look, the reason this has all happened is we have run out of ideas and everybody knows it. The others do not have any ideas but people do not know that yet". The second thing was if people asked him, people like yourselves, what can the West do to help the Algerians, he said "Find a way of employing millions and millions of unemployable young men". He was putting it in that way to get you to focus on the problem but I think that is the problem in the Gulf. There is a lot of resentment about the money. We talk about lack of foreign investment for the Gulf but of course they blame it on Israel, it is a classic example of where there is such insecurity but this insecurity is not anything to do with Israel, it is to do with their struggling brother Saddam and also to do with the corruption of states and meanwhile $1,000 billion is invested here, at least. The issue on unemployment then becomes not just an issue of dissatisfaction but of resentment of the rulers for pocketing the money and not promoting the economy. That feeds into this radicalised view that we are seeing, many of them people with a level of education, many of them even people with higher education.

  Chairman: I want to focus again on our bilateral relations.

Mr Maples

  23. This leads on from that in a way. This coalition that has been built has found our country and yours in alliance with countries that a few months ago, or even a few weeks ago, we did not want to have much to do with. In fact, the price of this coalition it seems to me has been giving Putin a relatively free hand in Chechnya and bringing Musharraf and his regime back into the international community whereas in this country we were seeking to chuck him out of the Commonwealth not too long ago, which I mention as an aside. It is difficult to imagine the same co-operation we have had out of Musharraf or Putin, but we are starting to make overtures towards Iran again. When the administrations in the United States changed at the beginning of the year we saw, as I think we expected to see, a shift of continuum from values to more of an interests direction and now interests are absolutely numbers one to nine on the top ten in the agenda. When we move past, which hopefully we will, this phase of the war against terrorism, what do you think the response will or should be of the United States' Government? Will it be "our overriding interest is peace of the United States and therefore the stability of the world and therefore strong governments, even if they have bad human rights records," like the ones I have just mentioned, are people we need out there maintaining this peace and stability, or is it, as Professor Halliday was saying, or started to say, the way to long-term stability is to solve some of these problems by actually exporting Western values rather than insisting on our interests? It seems to me that this question is going to be posed in perhaps rather an uncomfortable way if we get past this stage of the war. I am just wondering (a) what do you think the United States' Government should do and (b) what they will do, because they are not necessarily the same?
  (Mr Rubin) Thank you, I think that is an excellent question and it requires a bit of a crystal ball, but let me address it directly. In so doing, I address what I think was half a question towards me about no leadership in Washington. On your specific question, it is traditional for the new administration to think that everything that came before was, I guess the word in England would be "rubbish". What they have discovered over time is that maybe these policies which developed over many years of thought and trial and error, sometimes are not so bad after all. So when the new administration came in, you say it was more on interest, and I think that is correct, but there was also a very clear attempt to sideline the relationship with Russia, top White House officials saying, "The Russians are not important for us to meet with in the first couple of months," and strong efforts to create an acceptance of the proposition of China as a strategic competitor rather than a potential partner, etc., etc. That was already ending prior to September 11. Certainly in the case of Russia, there was a recognition that Putin was someone they needed to do business with because of the support they wanted to get for missile defence. To the extent, in my opinion, the administration had a vision of foreign affairs, it was missile defence: "if somebody is good for missile defence we are on their side, if they are bad for missile defence we are against them". That was almost the defining trait they saw in developing a grand strategy, but that has changed. If you look at the Musharraf, Putin, Chechnya, Iran issues, I would add China to that list, I say to myself they may not be doing it for the right reasons, but these are the right decisions. In my opinion in China, the Clinton Administration got the balance about right: you do what you can to condemn the human rights abuses, you do what you can to promote the kind of trade that is good for everybody, and in the meantime you make China a partner in these international challenges. Look what we got. During the Gulf War the Chinese abstained on the resolution and criticised us all the way through the operation. This time around they voted for everything, and they limited their criticism to hoping that there will not be too many civilian casualties, which I think everyone in this room can agree with. The same with Russia. During the Gulf War the Russians were voting yes, but Gorbachev and Primakov were a major irritant for the Bush Administration as they went forward. This time around, as I think you have correctly put it, they would love to see, let us speculate, Osama bin Laden end up in Chechnya and US Russian units tracking him down. That would be the best outcome for certain Russian policy makers because it would ratify every wrong decision they have made in Chechnya, where they have tried to make it a religious issue when it was a nationalism issue. None of that changes where they are going to go, and that is why I think that this idea that there is no leadership in Washington is also rubbish. This is an extraordinarily difficult problem, and I think Professor Halliday alluded to how difficult it is. The leadership crisis, to the extent you accept that phrase and I do not, is mostly on the domestic side about anthrax and the inability of the different agencies to be talking properly. When it comes to the international side, I think the President and his Secretary of State, who is travelling plenty and Rumsfeld hates to travel and I would not worry about Rumsfeld trying to out Secretary of State the Secretary of State, have put together an extraordinary coalition, and that was not an accident, that they have Russia, they have China, that they are working with the Europeans to see what Iran will do for us. This was not an accident, this was extraordinarily carefully put together. If you are going to say that is the starting point then of course you are not going to be able to solve every other single problem that well intentioned academics can come up with afterwards. Government is about priorities, and you have to create priorities. You cannot solve every problem in advance. When it comes to the political track, which is what the criticism is, I defy anyone to give me a really good political solution for Afghanistan. I have seen the six-plus-two documents and they are very general. I have seen the proposals to have Zahir Shah convene a council. We had one of these meetings in Pakistan and they did not get us very far. There was a reason for that. Prior to the bombing was the moment of maximum leverage when everyone imagined in Afghanistan that this was going to be a disaster, we were all going to end up on the wrong side, the Taliban were going to fall, and then the bombing starts and they realise they can continue most of their daily lives and it is not going to end right away, so any potential for people changing sides has now been lost. Should we have waited a few more months, would it have made a difference in putting a political track together? I do not know. It might have made a difference, however, in not forcing the al-Qaeda network to go on the run and be able to plan more terrorist attacks. The next moment of leverage is going to come when the Taliban begins to collapse, and that may be weeks, it may be months, it might even be longer than that, but when they know that is happening then all of these meetings and the Iranian view, which one day is, "we want the King back" and the next day, "we don't want him back", and when they think they have stronger leverage they insist that they can have him back, the Russians saying, "no Taliban part of it" and the Pakistanis saying, "Taliban have to be part of it". These people are all going to bargain until the day they see it is all coming together and gelling, and they need to make a decision, "are you in the group, are you part of the solution, or are you going to be outside of the group?" Unfortunately, on the political track that is not going to happen until the signs of the Taliban collapsing occur. To get to your question, because I veered around a little bit, nation building for the Bush Administration was an extraordinarily difficult thing to come out of the President's mouth. That administration and those politicians criticised the administrations I worked for relentlessly over this phrase. You could see during the campaign, and in the early days after September 11, that when the President used the words "nation building" he did it with disdain, but now it is part of American foreign policy and so the values/interest mix that we always understood—that your interests are served when you are pursuing your values, when you are feeding people in Afghanistan, when you are helping to create semi-legitimate government structures, you are going to be better off in terms of real interest on resentments towards you—they are going to get it, there is no other choice. They are going to be part of the rebuilding of Afghanistan, the reconstruction, billions of dollars are going to be spent on this and a lot of political effort. We are not going to get tired. In the end there is going to be the proper mix of values and interests that I always thought most American governments end up trying to marry.

  24. I wanted to ask your two colleagues what they thought in answer to the point I was trying to make, how do we deal with these governments, countries, we consider pretty unpleasant but who, on the other hand, have been vital partners so far in the coalition and how do they think American policy should and will develop?
  (Professor Clarke) Before Professor Halliday speaks let me just put in one important point which takes up what James Rubin mentioned. There is always a mix between values and interests, of course. One of the things that September 11 has done, I think, is created a need in the US and its allies to think more assertively about the defence of its values, not just holding values and defending interests but defending values. The problem, of course, is one has to defend one's values by upholding them as well and that is where all the tricky compromises really come. The two areas in which I think there is real structural change in the world as a result of September 11 and in which values will have to be defended in perhaps slightly different ways will be in the Gulf and Middle East and in the relationship between the United States and Russia. I think those are the two areas that are likely to be fundamentally affected by the outcome of this crisis. What the United States has got to try to do, and where I think there is a policy vacuum in Washington, is not over tactics, it is not that the American Government is not doing things and is not efficiently putting together coalition partners and holding them together on a day to day basis, but it is in articulating the strategy that allows for an assertive defence of values which also upholds them. That is a very difficult trick to perform that, we all know that, but that is the nature of the task. That is the challenge which I think these terrorist attacks have laid down to the West. Unless values can be defended the Osama bin Laden network is not interested in attacking our interests, it is attacking our values. If this is part of a form of regional or even global insurgency it is the values of the West that are being attacked, this global rancour that Professor Halliday mentioned earlier on. That is what has got to be defended against and that is a very difficult set of compromises, but it could be worse. One has to think about defending values in two specific areas, the Gulf and the Middle East and in the relationship with Russia, they do not have to be defended differently in other parts of the world which are not fundamentally affected by these events. The priorities are the Gulf, the Middle East and Russia, it seems to me.
  (Professor Halliday) We are talking about the broadening of military action and a second front has already opened in the Philippines. The United States' forces are involved there against bin Laden allies, the Abu Sayyaf Group. This is made public, it is perfectly obvious, and I think it indicates that other less overt but nevertheless substantive and directed operations will be taking place and I can think of three or four other places they may start in and they may already have done so. On the question of understanding, I agree that the policy problems are enormous for any government in Washington and I do think not the lack of intelligence about 11 September, which I do not think anyone could have predicted—maybe someone will prove me wrong if they come up with evidence—but the lack of intelligence and understanding of these countries, I do not mean agreeing with them but knowing what goes on, having the old style language speaking history educated people who can understand them, is a major problem. People in the American civil service like to go home at 5.30 and have desk jobs and that is a major problem linked to the personality of the President who is there, and who is probably going to get re-elected, but I do not feel has the best qualities needed for this job. The mood of the American people is very important and I hear two things. One is that Americans are deeply traumatised but will become deeply angry, and they say "why has this happened to us" and here the homeland civilian side is very important, but, secondly, Americans, if I can generalise, want to fix it, they want a quick fix and there ain't going to be a quick fix on this one. That is going to be a very big problem. "What are we going to do now?" Just as we are hearing here this sort of half-time score approach to the war, as if anybody knew how long the war is going to be, I think the quick fix demand will create problems in the longer run which Bush may find difficult to answer. On the question of these different allies, I entirely agree with the phrase "value/interest mix". I am all for values in international relations I just think that sometimes there is a moral position when actually there may be three or four moral positions which may coincide with each other. How many war criminals do you arrest in the Balkans if you are also trying to keep the Dayton Peace Agreement going or get food through to refugees? It is not an easy question. You have got to take it country by country. On the question of Iran, I am on record, and the Chairman knows this well, as thinking this country dragged its feet on Iran, partly because of the pressure on the Labour Party from the bottom up by a pro-Iraqi terrorist group that had infiltrated over half of all Labour Party local branches, and I say that on the record as well as off, and partly because of what I regard as improper obstruction from people at the top, one or two people in particular, who have a very strong and ill-informed—I stress this word because I know them personally—anti-Iranian agenda. The Iranians are not easy or nice people to deal with, they are tricky, but I think they should be dealt with and I welcome very much the fact that the Foreign Secretary has gone and I think the Iranians themselves have been drawn into this alliance in a sensible way. They are even quoting Palmerston I see in yesterday's Iranian parliamentary report, which is fine.

Sir Patrick Cormack

  25. There is hope for us all.
  (Professor Halliday) The second is the question of Israel. I am a great supporter of a two state solution and if I am the last person in the world who is, so be it. I think both Arafat and Sharon have made a mess of things for the last year. I certainly think that Arafat, but also more broadly the Muslim and Arab world, were not ready, and I think you have got to broaden this one out, for a sensible compromise on Jerusalem and other issues last year. My solution is very simple: two states, no settlements, no right of return.


  26. And Jerusalem?
  (Professor Halliday) Partition it, as many Israelis are quite happy to. David Ben-Gurion was quite happy to partition Jerusalem. Let me say on the record as an historian that the Judaic and Islamic traditions have not made such a fuss about Jerusalem in the past as they have now. It has become a political issue. It is perfectly practicable to partition it and it is perfectly practicable to do what many Israeli social scientists and many Palestinians have accepted and that would solve it, there is just a lack of political will. It is easier to partition than the Garvahy Road, if I can put it that way. One point I would criticise Israel on is its refusal to negotiate while violence is continuing. This country negotiated with the IRA and violence continues, the French negotiated with the Algerians, the Americans with the Vietnamese, and so on and so forth, and with Mugabe in his better days, if I can put it that way. Why not negotiate even if some violence continues? That seems to me to be an unreasonable demand. On the Arab and Palestinian sides there is all this stuff, all this racist stuff about Zionism that has come up again and in my view is completely unacceptable. The argument has slipped back on both sides from the position that was there. A final point is I think a broad alliance will hold. To have a major break in an alliance you have to have a revolution or an upheaval within a country; Russia quitting in 1917, Italy going the other way in 1943. If there is a huge upheaval, an overthrow of a member state, and we think first of Pakistan here, then countries will leave the alliance but otherwise they will bob and weave as countries did during the Second World War. The British and the Chinese did not love each other but they got on with it and I suspect this will happen this time as well. To go back to the domestic issue, which is how do you defend liberal values with the kind of security flux you now have—

Mr Maples

  27. That is tremendously interesting but it has not helped me very much on how one deals with Putin, Jiang Zemin and Musharraf. It seems to me by itself absolutely key to this standing rock solid against extremist elements, yet we have a military regime which overthrew a democratically elected President, put him in prison and is also on the wrong end of nuclear proliferation which predates Musharraf. When this is all over if Pakistan has been a very solid ally and we have been much nicer to Musharraf than we will ever have been before, will we revert to saying "no, our long-term security interests are best promoted by liberal values"?
  (Mr Rubin) You have encapsulated a great example. Musharraf is the classic mix of proliferation, anti-terrorism and democratic values. I was part of a government that was pretty tough on him, when he took over power, but we have to acknowledge that the guy has been extraordinarily courageous in the last few weeks, has made extremely difficult decisions in terms of firing people within his own military, he faces real personal risk in that country and he has turned around. When we look at why did they lose the support of the West, there were some who viewed the coup d'état as the problem, there were some who viewed the nuclear weapons as the problem, but the real problem was below those policy levels were the hard-nosed national security people and they said, "well, we would be fighting against you liberal, human rights people on democracy or on the non-proliferation ground except he has turned around on terrorism and there are all these people in Pakistan and he is supporting the Taliban and he refuses to take the steps necessary to cut off ties with the people who support the ones who did this on September 11", but he has now done that, he has done a one hundred and eighty degree turn. Will he be able to implement it at all levels in the Pakistani Intelligence Service, are there still going to be problems? Yes. Now we have to look at this guy and ask, "What about Musharraf?" as you quite rightly put it, "What about Benazir Bhutto? What are the real traditions of democracy?" If ever there was a coup d'état that had popular support in the modern world, it was in Pakistan. It was a popularly supported coup d'état. This is where interests and values are coming together, and we have to think clearly about both of them, and have the democracy in the long-term but the interests in the short-term.

Sir John Stanley

  28. A different subject but very topical, that of biological weapons. Could each of the three of you respond to these two questions, please. On July 25 at Geneva the American Ambassador to the Biological Weapons Convention negotiations, Ambassador Donald Marley, made a lengthy speech in which he endeavoured to justify the Bush Administration's decision to torpedo six years' work in creating a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention. First question: if you have read Ambassador Marley's speech could you tell me and the Committee whether you consider the justification which he advanced at Geneva on July 25 to be intellectually credible or not? Secondly, with a pretty grim irony barely two months after torpedoing the verification protocol the United States itself has come under attack from a biological weapon, anthrax. Can you tell me now in the light of the US's current experience with anthrax, do you believe that will produce a change in policy by the Bush Administration to effectively reverse the position they took at Geneva on July 25 and put their very considerable weight behind establishing a credible verification protocol so that the Biological Weapons Convention does have teeth, or do you believe that the previous position as of 25 July of destroying the verification protocol will stand?
  (Professor Clarke) Let me begin on the basis that I probably have less to say about this than James Rubin. I cannot comment on Ambassador Marley's speech, I have not read it. On the stance which the United States took on 25 July, undoubtedly that stance was a great disappointment to many other members of the Biological Weapons Convention and members of the world community. I had a conversation only this morning actually with the head of the Department of Disarmament Affairs in the United Nations who was speaking about the possibility of getting a new agreement which he felt the United States was more keen on and would be quicker to negotiate than the six and a half years that was spent on the previous protocol that was voted down. He himself—I simply report this officially as it were—is reasonably optimistic that there is a new awareness in the United States that they have to go back to Geneva with a more positive attitude towards the particular problem. One of the reasons why the US voted it down in July was partly pressure from US industry, particularly the biotech industry in the United States which is deeply worried about intrusive inspections. In general, chemical industries in the US are more relaxed and have supported the Bio Weapons Convention, that is have supported an implementation protocol. The biotech industry has been extremely anti. That seems to me to be probably the stumbling block which the United States' Administration would have to get over and the present administration has not shown so far a great ability to persuade industry to do something it does not want to do, so I am not very optimistic about that. The pressure that has been created by the September 11 attacks almost certainly is going to force some degree of rethinking in Washington.
  (Professor Halliday) I would just put this in the context of a broader issue which is the relationship in American foreign policy between, to use their terms but they are not our terms, unilateralism and multilateralism. What we saw was the Bush Administration pursuing a number of things which they felt they should change with regard to the Clinton Administration. Very often they were issues which right-wing lobbies in Washington had been targeting for a long time, of which this was one. Others would obviously include the ABM Treaty, measures against tax havens, the Kyoto Protocol, there is a long list of them. Even had it not been for September 11 I think there would have been the kind of shift that Michael Clarke identifies. One of the main consequences of September 11, which is a welcome move, although in tragic circumstances, is that it has significantly reduced the pressure for American unilateralism in a whole range of issues. The most obvious of all is Paul O'Neill was saying before September 11 "I am not going to go along with the OECD's anti-tax haven policy" and now he is 200 per cent in favour of it for reasons of counter-terrorist security. I think here too we may well see a shift. Where you have, and this goes back to understanding American foreign policy, a very strong lobby, as you clearly do, and Michael Clarke mentioned it, it could be on steel, in this case the biotech industries who are and upcoming sector in America, then resistance to abandoning unilateralism will be all the greater. I think the onus is on us, whether it be yourselves or academics, to study how is policy actually made in America and not to say "oh, it is all lobbies" but to actually get a handle on it and that will explain what is happening.
  (Mr Rubin) I am very familiar with the position of the Bush Administration as to why it rejected this protocol. I certainly agree with you that the logic was strained. Essentially they said the downsides, namely the potential loss of secrets of the biotech industry, were not outweighed by the upsides, namely the ability to deter and ensure that countries were complying with the Treaty. The problem I have with that, is that all of those calls are judgment calls. On bio weapons and chemical weapons, the best single instrument we have ever had to crack down on biochemical weapons was UNSCOM in Iraq, where you had the support of the international community, you had a Security Council Resolution authorising the use of military force, you had a team of inspectors on the ground and yet a determined cheater was not going to let you find its biochemical capabilities unless you invaded and overthrew the government. I bring that up because I think we have to be realistic about what any treaty instrument can do. The reason I disagreed with their decision was not because the upsides were so great and the downsides were minimal, but because I worried if you were too much out of the multinational system and you had a biological weapons attack without September 11, and you had not used this forum as a way to get support for any action you might need to take, or pre-emptive action you might need to take, you would lose the support of coalitions that you need to actually perform the task. While I think Professor Halliday is absolutely right, for the next three years any time someone wants to do something unilateral the Secretary of State is going to say, "Okay, that is the upside of doing something unilateral, the downside is we might lose coalition support in the fight against terrorism, law enforcement intelligence, economic sanctions, potential military action", and that balance is going to have to be weighed in a very new, geo-strategic environment where every decision is going to be weighed against the loss of the coalition. For those of you who are multilateralist that is pretty good news and I think that is fairly evident.

  29. You did not answer the second question, do you think there is going to be a change of policy in the Bush Administration?
  (Mr Rubin) I do not think that the BWC protocol as drafted and prepared for the meetings this July will ever be approved by the United States. I do think it is possible that a new round of negotiations with a temporary set of measures agreed unilaterally essentially, each country agreeing law enforcement steps while negotiating a new version, is plausible, but I would be stunned if the Bush Administration revived its support for that particular protocol.

  Andrew Mackinlay: Do I get a slice of the action?

  Chairman: Of course, yes.

Andrew Mackinlay

  30. I would like to bounce something off James Rubin. It seems to me that one of our problems is a presentational one. Quite understandably in the immediate aftermath the term "war" is used but there really is not anything in our vocabulary to describe what we are doing. Clearly there is war in the geographical area of Afghanistan and that will have an end, perhaps, but the wider ongoing thing is something which, if we have got to use the term war, is rather like the war on organised crime and until the end of time we will be waging war on organised crime, it is a question of containment and denial of certain things. It is a war on terrorism that will be with us until the end of time and we are dealing with denying of weapons of mass destruction and containing it in the networks. It does seem to me in terms of public opinion, both in North America and Western Europe and the UK, all of us involved in this, and military and political commentators, should try to get some terminology which is meaningful and does not convey the wrong things because a lot of people are still thinking in terms of very much a campaign, expeditionary force and so on, a beginning and an end, castles on mountain tops stormed, trenches to seize. There was somebody in the administration who actually said it will take ten years and that implies an armistice or a capitulation but this is not going to happen, is it? It does seem to me this is one of the problems that we ought to be discussing.
  (Mr Rubin) I think you are exactly right. There is essentially a two track policy. One track is in Afghanistan, it is a war, it is a military campaign to track down the terrorists and overthrow the Taliban. The second track is political, economic, diplomatic, law enforcement and perhaps some day military means used to end state sponsorship for terrorism, because once you have ended state sponsorship then you can act within states against sub-groups that are not supported by the states. That is more a metaphor war than it is a real war. We have the war on drugs in the United States, we have the war on poverty of Lyndon Johnson, and that is where this is coming out of. I do think that we need to bifurcate this and talk about it clearly. We may get to a point where in Iraq, or somewhere else, we use military power but for now the coalition's premise that I think has kept it together is that the military part of this campaign is in Afghanistan and against—this is what it says in the UN Resolution and the United States' Congress Resolution—"those responsible for 11 September". They may be outside of Afghanistan, and that may involve military action. You are absolutely right, we need a new word. I dare say that was what the President was searching for when he misused the word "crusade". I do not think it was intentional, and it is an excuse in the Muslim world to not support American policy by saying, "it is because he said crusade". That was the word he was searching for, a long-term high priority effort that has motivation behind it.

  31. The second point is, I regret to have to say this to Professor Halliday, and I am not going to let him go by my silence, he made a very serious point. I understand you said, unless you want to clarify it, that over half of the branches of the Labour Party had been infiltrated by pro-Iraqi sympathisers.
  (Professor Halliday) Yes, they have.

  32. That is sheer unadulterated crap.
  (Professor Halliday) No, it is not. You ask people in the Labour Party International Department. You look at the resolutions.

  33. Absolute nonsense.
  (Professor Halliday) I am sorry. You look at resolutions sent to Labour Party Conferences in recent years. Look at the Portsmouth pre-election conference held whenever it was. You will discover that the largest number of issues on which resolutions are sent is the question of the National Council of Resistance to Iran, which is an Iraqi funded terrorist organisation, and they are active in over 300 local Labour Parties. You go to Walworth Road or whatever it is now called and ask them. I know, they will tell you. That is on the record. Moreover, there are large numbers—if you want me to continue on this—of Members of this House, of both Houses, who sign fatuous motions year after year calling for recognition of the National Council of Resistance, denouncing the reforms that have taken place in Iran based on prejudice and ignorance. I have said this many times, I have said it on the record, and I am very happy to repeat it here and continue the conversation with you afterwards.


  34. You have made the point.
  (Professor Halliday) Yes. He asked me to repeat it and I have done that.

  35. One last thought. You said that you were concerned about the ignorance of the US in our universities?
  (Professor Halliday) Yes.

  36. I thought there had been quite a strong effort in terms of American political studies in the United Kingdom. Can you expand on that?
  (Professor Halliday) In the 1960s when universities expanded there was a composite programme called AMCIV, American Civilisation, so people read Norman Mailer and James Fenimore Cooper and Robert Frost but they also studied how foreign policy worked, the way the US Congress worked, they studied American history and so forth. If you look at university departments that has very significantly eroded as an inter-disciplinary project but also in terms of the subjects I teach, political science and international relations. I find it easier to get a speaker on land reform in Uzbekistan than to get a good speaker on how foreign policy is made in America. When I was writing my last book, which was an overview called The World at 2000 I was looking for academic literature in this country on this multilateralism and unilateralism issue, I could not find it and nobody else could find it. This is not only among academics but when I look at the press the level of discussion on America is often less informed, less measured than that of many, many other countries.

  37. Can you give us a note from you or one of your colleagues on the state of US studies in the United Kingdom?
  (Professor Halliday) The Secretary of State for Education has not noticed this but a major multi million pound research assessment exercise is just being completed between now and December, of which one of the 38 committees is the American Studies Committee, which includes Latin America as well. Basically it is shrinking and shrinking. The other problem is people think they know about America and they do not. The biggest simple mistake is to think why do they not take decisions the way we do, and they do not.
  (Mr Rubin) It has got so bad that Professor Halliday thought he had to recruit me to teach this class at the London School of Economics.

  Chairman: We have had a high intensity seminar and it has been extremely useful. I thank you on behalf of the Committee very warmly indeed.

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