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10 May 2007

Diplomacy

Carne Ross is the founder of Independent Diplomat, the world's first non-profit diplomatic advisory

By Carne Ross

I celebrated New Labour’s arrival in power.

Human rights rose in the calculus of foreign policy. The interventions in Sierra Leone and Kosovo were disinterested, brave and right, as was Britain’s support for the International Criminal Court.

“Humanitarian intervention” – the right to intervene in another country to stop oppression – had a chance of becoming international law, in part thanks to Blair’s leadership.

These hopes are now dust.

Western impotence over Darfur is today’s measure of our influence. Khartoum wins undeserved sympathy for its ludicrous claims that the West seeks another Iraq-style occupation.

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Despite innumerable promises, nothing has been done about Palestine. We have slipped back to Might is Right rather than a world of rules, and Blair is in part to blame.

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In the end, the decline of Britain’s moral influence, or of international law, matter less than the only ultimate measure of success or failure: the simple scale of human suffering.

In terms of blood shed, Blair’s record is all too vividly clear.