Baroness Warsi's cringeworthy dumb America speech

The former co-chair of the British Conservative Party thinks Americans aren't as "sophisticated" as we are on foreign policy. She's a typically prejudiced European, and she's made a fool of herself. PM Cameron should fire her immediately

The very sophisticated Baroness Warsi
the commentator
On 16 November 2013 12:31

It is a measure of the degree to which the so-called British Right has internalised the prejudices of the British Left that Baroness Warsi, former co-chair of the Conservative Party, can come out with something like this. To say that her speech, at the US Council on Foreign relations in Washington D.C. of all places, was cringeworthy is an understatement.

“I think Britain is quite uniquely sophisticated in its understanding of the world in a way the US is not,” she said. Oh dear. But before we retort -- a retort that does not deprecate Britain by the way -- she added a few more giveaway remarks about the political agenda she has internalised.

Referring to some question or other posed on Fox News -- that dreaded den of rightwing loons, as Leftist demonology has it -- about whether a Muslim interviewee was qualified to write about Christianity, she said:

"The fact that this is even a question shows there is a level of illiteracy. Fox News needs training on religious literacy.” And then, she added: "Oh dear did I just say that openly?”

Well, unless you've been misquoted by someone determined to make you sound as stupid and narrow minded as possible, yes you did say that openly.

Let's get to work. Warsi is a typical British/European "conservative" in that like most of her colleagues she is desperate to please a prevailing set of ideas which bear the imprint of the political Left.

That's why it tends not to make a huge amount of difference who's in government: they're largely in agreement on all the main ideas -- a big state, social democratic set-up at home, and a softly-softly, no-big-ideas-please, appeasement-oriented agenda abroad.

On the foreign policy part of that, anyone from within the Western camp who takes a different view must lack sophistication. And few lack sophistication like those knuckle-dragging hicks from the US of A.

Of course, if Americans start emulating Europeans, they might get a pat on the back from time to time. As Warsi said of the improvements in American foreign policy under Barack Obama:

“If I was sat in the US [I would ask] why is that, why are we not as nuanced and as sophisticated... I think in more recent times you probably have been.”

It really is hard not to laugh. The US foreign policy establishment is without question the most sophisticated in the world. The UK has some good think tanks, Europe fewer. But within about a square mile of Dupont Circle in the centre of D.C. there is probably more foreign policy brain power than in the rest of the world combined.

Top minds from the think tanks go in and out of administrations, Republican and Democrat. They may not always be listened to and they may not always be right. But a bunch of dumb, unsophisticated half-wits they most certainly are not.

And to cap it all, Warsi must be the only person in the world who actually has a good word to say about Barack Obama's foreign policy. Frankly, the president is lost in foreign policy terms and has been since day one of his inauguration, as many Democrats themselves privately admit.

Perhaps Baroness Warsi needs a course in foreign affairs. Maybe she could try the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins just a very short walk from where she made her speech. Oh, we forgot. It's probably not "sophisticated" enough.

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