Conversations in Diplomacy: David Miliband
May 2, 2012
Author: Charles Hobbs
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The Future of Diplomacy Project
According to David Miliband, the most serious casualty of the Eurozone financial crises has been “to outsiders view of the European’s ability to get their house in order.” Miliband, who is the former UK Foreign Secretary (2007-2010), joined the Future of Diplomacy project as a Fisher Family Fellow to discuss the EU, Iran, and Afghanistan in a wide-ranging interview on April 3, 2012.
For Miliband, who disagrees with some of his colleagues in the Conservative Party, the Eurozone crisis has not meant that the United Kingdom should further distance itself from the European Union as a whole. “We [in the Labour Party] were always clear that we’d try to be sure that in non-Euro areas we’d always work along,” Miliband affirmed.
On Iran, Miliband said that for all nations involved in the negotiations, the desired result would be an Iranian state without nuclear arms. However, he also stressed that a non-nuclear armed Iran does not preclude an Iranian civil-nuclear program. Even so, Miliband also highlighted the difficulties of trying to “overcome decades of mistrust under the clock, and under the spotlight.” In this atmosphere, he recognized that “the mistrust that can be exploited for political ends is real,” cautioning that finding an appropriate balance in negotiations “is going to require some very delicate sequencing” and patience from the US and its allies.
In his conversation with R. Nicholas Burns, Miliband also discusses the future of Afghanistan, where Britain retains a significant troop continent. As Western governments have begun to shift towards withdraw, he criticized Western leaders in particular for lacking “coordinated action on troop announcements.” The result, he said, has been a “lack of clarity about the end game for the West,” which has only compounded difficulties in negotiating with the Taliban.
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