- Iraq - once ruled by a tyrant but free from Al Qaeda is now teeming with terrorists and hard-line religious fanatics who want nothing more than to make Iraq an Islamic state. Ironically, there were actually churches and synogogues in Iraq prior to 2003, I wonder if they will exist in the future?
- Afghanistan - for a couple of years was the poster nation for successful US pre-emptive doctrine. A nation in which the Taleban had been swept aside and democracy had been introduced. Now, it is a disaster. Rather than finishing off the Taleban, the US and it's allies left too few troops to patrol this vast country while their leaders went off on the crusade to oust Saddam. The result? The Taleban have re-grouped, they are inflicting heavy casualties on NATO forces now led by the British. They are resourceful, know the terrain, and most importantly, have beaten off the might of one super power already (the Soviets in the 1980s).
- Al Qaeda - Constantly painted in the media as a James Bond style villain, with masses of resources and a mastermind of a leader in Osama Bin Laden. Yet where is Bin Laden? Bush himself pulled resources out of capturing the most wanted man on the planet. Al Qaeda, meanwhile seem stronger than ever before. Like the Taleban they are en-trenched. They have a strong foot-hold in Iraq and are not really threatened by other nations in the region.
- Security - While our nation (amongst others) has spent countless resources on trying to improve security within our borders we find ourselves feeling more at risk. Whilst it's debatable how many 'home-grown' terrorists there are it is clear that no real resources have been spent on trying to battle the ideology at the source. Killing a terrorist only breeds more terrorists. Stopping someone from wanting to become a terrorist, by engaging with an impressionable youth and making un-biased, logical foreign policy decisions is the only way to combat an under-current of hate.
- Foreign policy - A real leader accepts his mistakes. I remember a time long before 9/11 when Tony Blair was going from country to country apologising for Britains past sins; the sins of Empire. However, Tony has learned quickly that it's easy to apologise for mistakes made by leaders years before he was born. The hard bit is learning from them. Military commanders knew Iraq was a quagmire, they had learned this from a history of occupying nations. Military intelligence warned that the Taleban were not destroyed and could not be contained with limited resources. Yet Tony Blair and his allies both home and abroad have continued to make mistake after mistake. Our nonchalant support for Israel in it's recent attacks on Lebanon have hardened our enemies resolve against us. Such foreign policy decisions do not make Britain safer. They make us a target. Foreign policy must be un-biased. Hezbollah must be disarmed. But by the same token, Israel should be forced to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. If they don't sign it they should face sanctions. That is what other nations that have breached such treaties have faced (see Pakistan, until recently). Similarly, all nations (including Israel) should be forced to meet the expectations of UN resolutions. Failure to do so results in accusations of bias and leads to the growth of terrorism around the globe.
- The UN - Of course, without power to back up it's resolutions the UN is nothing more than a members only club, formed by the winners of World War 2 and thus biased in their favour. Central to the problems within the UN is the infamous UN security council and it's 5 permanent members (US, China, Russia, Britain and France). These states are the only nations to hold a resolution blocking veto. Why, in this modern era should any nation require a veto? These five nations cannot view themselves as overseers. The UN is a collective of 192 nations, surely a democracy would see them all have an adequate say? No nation should hold a veto. It is un-democratic and open to abuse (as the Soviets where constantly guilty of pre-1970 and the US have been guilty of ever since). No nation can be above the law.
Of course, I don't think anything here is new to people. One thing I am certain of, things are only going to get worse before they get better.
My thought are with the 3000 or so people who died on September 11th 2001 and the subsequent 80,000 innocent lives that have been taken in the name of the war on terror.