The commentators 04-09-14
...on the Nato summit and Isis threat
Terrorists thrive on political instability. So we must invest in the building blocks of free and open societies, including creating a genuinely inclusive government in Iraq that unites all Iraqis, including Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian and other minority populations. When the threats to our security increasingly emanate from outside Nato’s borders, we must build more partnerships with others who share our values and want a tolerant and peaceful world
- Barack Obama and David Cameron, The Times
The jihadist threat isn't a uniquely British problem. As Cameron's figures show so powerfully, it's a shared one. The jihadi numbers are even greater in France and almost as large in Germany. Then there's the "hundreds more" from the other countries that Cameron listed. Put it all together and Europe has nurtured a minimum of a couple of thousand jihadi vipers in its collective bosom, of whom possibly no more than a quarter are British. Bad enough, yes, but definitely not the whole story.
- Martin Kettle, The Guardian
Intervention will never be the thing that resolves the problem of Islamic State. In the long term, it would make political reconciliation almost impossible. The arrival of British and American troops in the region would only play into the jihadists’ Crusader narrative, and help promote their twisted rhetoric.
- Sofia Patel, Independent
The era of statesmen has been supplanted by the age of government by management consultancy. Nato was created by the generation of Churchill, Truman, Marshall, Eisenhower and Adenauer. Their successors, on their showing thus far, can scarcely touch such men’s knees when standing on tiptoe.
- Max Hastings, Daily Mail
In his “tough talk” of taking the fight to Isil, Mr Cameron has raised expectations that he can stand up for British values and keep Britain safe at the same time. He had better work out quickly how he might do that.
- Richard Spencer, Daily Telegraph
As has been the case throughout the history of terrorism, government anxiety centres on what to do about those against whom there may be intelligence but no usable evidence. The public are perceived as unlikely to be tolerant of those in authority who see a risk but do nothing about it. But departing from ordinary principles of justice brings its own problems.
- Dominic Grieve, The Guardian
The man who killed the two American journalists did not want to spread understanding, he wanted to spread fear. And he did so by demonstrating his own acute understanding of the society he had rejected. The posing, the articulation of the threats. It was almost as though he were performing for the British tabloids with his "I'm back" taunt and its Schwarzenegger overtones. The next victim, he said, would be a Brit. The threat was aimed at Cameron, to get him to put pressure on Obama, but the target audience was far bigger - the British people. He knew that the Press would be unable to resist the language, the posture, the concern for "one of ours".
Honour Steven Sotloff, don't glorify his killers
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