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June 2008 - UK's Shadow Defence Secretary Addresses JINSA in NYC

Shadow Defence Secretary addresses JINSA on June 18, 2008

On June 18, Dr. Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary of the British government, addressed an audience more than 100 JINSA members and supporters at the University Club in New York City. Fox, a leading Member of Parliament from the opposition Conservative Party, currently serves as Shadow Defence Secretary and, as such, closely follows the ruling Labour Party Defence Secretary whilst simultaneously developing alternative policies.

Dr. Liam Fox (on left) with JINSA Chairman of the Board of Directors Mark Broxmeyer.Dr. Liam Fox (on left) with JINSA Chairman of the Board of Directors Mark Broxmeyer.

Fox is a strong supporter of Israel and a great defender of the "special relationship" between the United States and the UK. He spoke of his concerns over the current development of British foreign and defense policy and how these changes will impact America and Israel. Michael Salzhauer, Chair of JINSA’s New York Cabinet, introduced Fox by pointing out how important strengthening ties with key allies are to our national security. "Great Britain has remained a steadfast partner to the U.S. in the war on terror and continues to commit and even increased the number of troops to the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Fox expressed strong concern over the threat that the European Union (EU) poses to U.S.-UK relations, believing that Britain must distance itself from the EU. He cited the recent rejection of the Lisbon treaty by the Irish as a positive step, one from which the UK could learn a great deal. Fox fears that the EU 'threat' remains off American radar screens and pointed out that Britain’s shift towards the EU is having a dangerous and potentially damaging impact on the U.S.-UK alliance.

Fox said that Islamic extremists' hatred for the West is based on a "conflict of ideology." Islamic extremists are diametrically opposed to our system of government, our values, and the rights of the individual that we cherish, he continued, warning that we must be careful when tackling Islamic fundamentalism; that we hold onto our values and are careful not to become what we are fighting against. As such, Fox recently voted against a proposed counter-terrorism bill that would have allowed British police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days.

Elaborating on the spread of Islamism to the west, Fox pointed out that both Afghanistan and Iran remain significant exporters of terrorism. Having visited both countries, he also observed that countries neighboring are continually destabilized as a result. Iran’s potential nuclear empowerment remains a constant worry for the United States and Britain but reminds us that countries such as Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia remain just as worried about Iran going nuclear as they too have a vested interest in seeing stability in the region, Fox said.

It is important for us to be patient with events in Iraq and Afghanistan as democracy takes a long time to take root, Fox said. He was also keen to emphasize that crucial to the growth of liberal democracy in the Middle East was 'institution building.' Establishing solid institutions at the earliest possible stages in a nation’s democratic growth would ensure a firm base for later development, Fox added.

Regarding recent concerns over the radicalization of Britain’s Muslims, Fox suggested that these stories have been "overblown." He did point out however that the Blair/Brown administration had done a good job of investing in intelligence services.

Fox concluded by emphasizing the importance for more intelligence. We always need more information in order to act. Essentially, "Intelligence is the answer to everything."

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