No False Choices for the Impressive David Miliband

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clemons miliband twn 2008.jpg
While eating a London-style breakfast this morning at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall, I read two major articles featuring long interviews with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Both pieces are in today’s Guardian newspaper – one across most of the front cover with a huge picture of Miliband, and the other in the center pages — with an even larger picture of the intelligent, youngish foreign minister/blogger.
You can read the pieces — first and second.
What I didn’t know before reading these articles profiling Miliband is that he lost 80 relatives to the Holocaust and would soon be paying a private visit to the former Auschwitz death camp where many of his family members died.
Two things strike me about this.
First, I have watched Miliband repeatedly reach out to Arab and Muslim communities — and he has made it a major mission of his staff to get the entire government to reframe how it approaches the challenge of modern terrorism at home and abroad. He was affirming the humanity of the Muslim population before most other Western leaders — and has now been joined by Barack Obama in doing much the same as we saw in the US President’s excellent Cairo speech.
I have always admired Miliband for rejecting the swaggerism of President Bush and for not lumping all Muslims into a single basket that he asked British citizens to revile. I realize Bush did not do this either — but Cheney’s faction of the foreign policy establishment pretty much did.
Second, Miliband’s family tragedy gives him unique perspective — and in my view, the personal right — to speak out against the fascist tendencies of the British National Party which is making electoral gains in the UK.
Miliband helped save Gordon Brown’s government, which seems destined to fall no matter what happens with the Tories under David Cameron taking over.
But Miliband’s sensible humanity rises from the Guardian pages as he thinks and speaks out loud about the challenges facing Britain and the world today — as well as facing the Labor Party that he just helped hold together a bit longer.
It’s impressive to see politicians anywhere in the world, like Miliband, taking their job and responsibilities so seriously.
We need more of them — but I fear we are getting less.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

4 comments on “No False Choices for the Impressive David Miliband

  1. serge says:

    “While eating a London-style breakfast this morning at the Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall…”
    Please tell me there no kippers involved.

    Reply

  2. Karl says:

    David Miliband is a helluva impressive guy. I really hope at some point Brown steps aside for David. He would be a fantastic PM who may be able to lead Labor out of it’s current rut.

    Reply

  3. Don Bacon says:

    Come on, Steve, you can say it: “Too bad the US doesn’t have a thoughtful ‘Foreign Secretary’ like Miliband, one who takes to heart the State Department motto ‘Diplomacy In Action’ rather than engaging in persistant threats and warmongering.”
    Well, you kind of said it here: “It’s impressive to see politicians anywhere in the world, like Miliband, taking their job and responsibilities so seriously. We need more of them — but I fear we are getting less.”
    There is some hope.
    from The Crimson White:
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now has an opportunity to prove her diplomatic skills. Following the president’s [Cairo] speech, Clinton leaned over a railing to talk with the traveling press corps. “He set forth a clear challenge to us and all in the world who share [our] hope for peace and security,” Clinton said. “Now we have to get to work to translate that into concrete action.” . . .
    To find success in the Muslim world, Obama, via Clinton, must persuade Muslims that the United States is not using moderate governments as mere pawns. They must feel they are legitimate partners of the United States. We must treat them as such and not use the intelligence services of some countries, such as Jordan, to outsource torture.
    http://www.cw.ua.edu/our-view-obama-speech-paves-way-for-clinton-efforts-1.1761956

    Reply

  4. JamesL says:

    More detailed comment by you regarding the key elements of BNP’s fascistic direction would be appreciated. Alarm at growing fascism is voiced on both Right and Left in America, aimed at the other of course, but both perspectives can’t be correct, unless the definition fascism is being stretched. Though liberal fascism is a hot phrase for the Right, I cannot think of an historic example.

    Reply

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