David Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary took by surprise most of the political analysts and, even more, the public. The way Cameron exited the government drove the idea that his career was over, and he would just collect fat fees from useless conferences for eastern business tycoons or low-level academics.
Hard to understand now the whole complicated mechanism which made this appointment possible, but we bet that in some eastern chancelleries champagne has popped (or camel milk bottles were opened-from case to case) as well there are others, mostly Europeans, who can’t stop laughing.
The appointment of Mr. Cameron made Mr. Putin at least smile since he knows that unlike his predecessors David Cameron is not a big fan of Ukraine or Mr. Zelensky. As we all remember Mr. Cameron is not a big fan of Brussels as well. So, what support could Zelensky’s European allies expect from someone who quit Europe years ago and brokered his country’s relation with the most reliable ally just trying to resolve an internal party issue?
But Moskow is not the only place where fireworks are on the sky. There were reasons to celebrate as well in Abu Dhabi and Dubai knowing the strong ties between the new Foreign Secretary and autocratic leaders from the Emiratis.
The friendship between Mr. Cameron and the UAE de facto leader, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan-or MbZ- is well known and largely assumed. Just nine months after getting into Downing Street the new PM paid a visit to the Emiratis. He renewed this visit both in 2012 and 2013. When he was not in Dubai or Abu Dhabi his friend MbZ visited him in London. Officially he was received in Downing St in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015 but reports presented by the investigation of the” Spinerwatch Group” revealed that dozens of other discreet meetings were held in UK between 2012 and 2015. Well, this was a huge change compared with the time of the Labor governments when the relations between the UK and the UAE were rather frosty. Gordon Brown and his team could not close their eyes to the frequent human rights abuses of the UAE rulers against their own citizens. But suddenly all these abuses were not an issue for the then new tory government with a foreign policy focused on commercial deals/money and less on principle.
MbZ and his ally, the Saudi Arabia, are the key players in the Middle East and especially in the Red Sea area. Their positions will strongly influence the course of the conflict in the area. The time has come for the UK foreign policy leadership to show the world that the years we spent in bed with the enemy of human rights are going to bring some dividends and it was worth for us and for the world. The time to show the world that it was not just about money but was about building trust and confidence we all can rely on when needed has come.
We will see in the coming months if Mr. Cameron took the office too early or too late. Too late because it is just one year until the elections, not enough time to repair his relationship with the EU or to show to the world his foreign policy talents. Too early because the situation in Ukraine and Middle East is still explosive and far from crystallizing to give him the chance to score on the solution of these crises.
It is to follow and understand how the new head of the Foreign Office will deal with the crises from Gaza and extension to the Red Sea. We will finally get the chance to understand if all those public and hidden meetings between Mr. Cameron and the autocratic ruler of the UAE will pay off and the influence of the UK in the area is real and not one bought just by the arms trade, and oil deals. Or we will understand that all those were just fishy lobby actions to make our leaders sleepy to the human rights abuses the UAE was doing.
Written by Eagle