Cameron admits foreign policy gaffe, mis-speaks that “Iran has got a nuclear weapon.”

There will be red faces in Number 10 tonight after the latest foreign policy gaffe from David Cameron. Speaking today at his one of his PM Direct events, the Conservative leader stuck up for Turkey’s application to join the EU, stating it would be able to help Europe address a number of issues:

I think [Turkey will] be a good political influence because they can help us solve some of the world’s problems like the Middle East peace process, like the fact Iran has got a nuclear weapon.”

Except Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon. His advisors later clarified that Mr Cameron “mis-spoke”, and had meant to say that Iran appeared to be trying to develop a nuclear programme.

This isn’t the first time Mr Cameron has shown a slightly flaky grasp of foreign policy. In the first leaders’ debate he well and truly gaffed by suggesting that China posed a major potential nuclear threat. If Nick Clegg had said it, the newspapers would have been all over him (except he woudn’t have made the error: Nick’s an international affairs geek).

More recently, he slipped up by mistakenly referring to the UK as the USA’s junior partner in the Second World War … in 1940, before the US had joined the war effort. I’m not sure it’s fair to refer to his remark that Pakistan appears to be “looking both ways” about exporting terrorism as a gaffe: whatever the rights and wrongs, the Conservative leader has stuck to his view on that one.

But the issue of nuclear states is – to state the obvious – a delicate one. His careless comments about first China and now Iran are not in themselves especially significant; but they suggest a superficiality of understanding on a major issue. The Prime Minister has slipped comfortably into the role of statesman abroad, looking the part. He now needs to work a bit harder on sounding the part also.

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28 Comments

  • As Obama said Cameron is a “light-weight”

  • Cameron is a bloody liability. You get what you support – and the Lib Dems are propping up an idiot with a 6th former’s knowledge of the World.

    Pakistan was a gaffe. To label it as ‘straight speaking’, alongside the idiotic statement on Gaza as many have tried to do – is no more than sycophancy. If it were meant – then I look forward to Cameron speaking in Canada and denouncing the US as murdering war criminals, standing up in Taiwan + labelling the Chinese as undemocratic torturers and taking to the stage in Spain and pigeon holing the French as cheese eating surrender monkeys.

    Think it’ll happen?

  • Yet more evidence that your de-facto leader is a clown of epic proportions.

    And I’m not just referring to his ample bosoms and heaving waist-line either.

    £10,000 for an immigration appeal? Do me a favour. From Channel 4’s fact check…

    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/do-camerons-iran-and-visa-claims-stack-up/3411

  • Simon McGrath 5th Aug '10 - 9:36pm

    They all need a holiday.

  • Oh Simon. Bless!

    “They all need a holiday”

    That’ll be why he announced China as mortal enemies of the UK in the debates 3 months ago.

    You orange-book Liberals are so cute! You’ll say anything to support super-smooth Dave!

  • Rosalind.

    They won’t be laughing at us. They’ll be queuing up to take a pop at us though. And don’t forget, we’re irelevant in the World according to Dave anyway.

    Besides, no-one knows who the fat man is. They just know his breasts wobble.

  • cuse – he was right on palestine. Also if his foreign policy blunders amount to saying some stupid things, id take that over an illegal, immoral and disgraceful war that the last two pm’s presided over.

  • dom.

    But that’s the difference between being a child and an adult.

    You stick up for the fat man, despite knowing full well that he and his party voted in their hundreds for the war, allowing Blair to get approval. Does he not therefore share responsibility?

    You excuse him his ‘blunders’, yet see no irony that he picks his foreign policy targets standing on the shores of nations he wants to trade with – at the same time as sealing his lips about US, Russian + Chinese atrocities.

    As I said. The difference between a child and an adult.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 5th Aug '10 - 10:19pm

    @dom

    “cuse – he was right on palestine”

    What’s ‘palestine’ ?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 5th Aug '10 - 10:25pm

    “Over the past 2 weeks his comments on foreign policy seem more worthy of the man in the pub.”

    Actually, leaving aside the astonishingly ignorant error over Iran having nuclear weapons, I reckon it reads more like something a rather naive and inarticulate teenager would say:
    “I think [Turkey will] be a good political influence because they can help us solve some of the world’s problems like the Middle East peace process, like the fact Iran has got a nuclear weapon.”

  • Rosalind.

    1. What was idiotic about his statement on Gaza? Many people in the world agree, especially after Israel’s playground bully trick a couple of months ago.

    Firstly, it was deeply hostile rhetoric. The last thing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict needs is yet more macho posturing from a junior world leader. It needs intelligence + diplomacy.
    Secondly, the use of such an emotive term and the lack of any balancing condemnation of the Hamas regime that terrorises Gaza is infantile.
    Thirdly, it was designed purely to seduce Turkey. It is two-faced, amateurish and not befitting of a British Prime Minister.
    And finally, it is not straight talking if you pick & choose who you decide to be straight-talking about purely based on who you trade with. It is immoral.

  • “It is two-faced, amateurish and not befitting of a British Prime Minister.”

    When Cameron was Leader of the Opposition, he told the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch in June 2009: “The belief I have in Israel is indestructible. I will never turn my back on Israel.”

    Now that he’s Prime Minister, it’s a somewhat different story. Speaking in Turkey in July 2010, he said: “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp” and “the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable” (neglecting to mention that the so-called aid workers on board were wearing diving suits and were armed with iron bars).

    It’s strange what 13 months, and winning votes from British Jews in constituencies such as Hendon, Finchley and Golders Green, and Watford, can do to your mindset! Funny how, after two years of love-bombing the Jewish community with promises of outlawing extremists and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel, the duplicitous Cameron can pop up in front of a mainly Muslim audience and produce such a forthright condemnation of Israel.

  • Am I the only one worried that DC poses a serious threat to the security of UK?

    Careless talk costs lives.

  • He had an armchair ride as Leader of the Opposition, what with Gordon Brown as a target and a sympathic media.

    But he’s finding out now that when people actually report (and question) what you say, when you are in a position of power, there are actually consequences. I think we’ll see an end to this “plain-speaking” pretty quickly, when the penny drops about this.

  • Great coments on the thread.

    Gordon Brown calls one OAP a bigot and gets his flesh ripped from his bones in the media, blogosphere + Westminster Village.

    Dave offends 2 nation states and a whole generation with his ridiculous “Junior partner in 1940” statement – and the Lib Dems support him.

    This New Politics is so refreshing!

  • Personally, I can’t stand Cameron, but even I will allow him a couple of goofs. It doesn’t make him an idiot. However, there is a real danger of the coalition being labeled as lightweight and superficial.

  • So, David Cameron has told Jewish audiences that he is an uncritical supporter of Israel, but has criticised Israel to a Moslem audience. Is this the kind of thing that the former colleague at Carlton TV was alluding to when he described Cameron as a “mendacious creep”? How many phoney promises has he made to Nick Clegg?

  • Has anyone considered that this might not simply be a “gaffe” or a “mis-speak” but actually based on some intelligence? As PM, Cameron will see some info which shouldn’t get into the public domain, for whatever reason. Could he actually be repeating something the intelligence agencies are telling him – that Iran and China already have nuclear weapons – which he shouldn’t be speaking publicly about?

  • KL

    Has anyone considered that this might not simply be a “gaffe” or a “mis-speak” but actually based on some intelligence? As PM, Cameron will see some info which shouldn’t get into the public domain, for whatever reason. Could he actually be repeating something the intelligence agencies are telling him – that Iran and China already have nuclear weapons – which he shouldn’t be speaking publicly about?

    If he has, then we’re even more screwed than I thought we were. It would mean that not only is the Fat Man an idiot, but he’s an idiot who’s a threat to National Security as well.

    Is that what a Classical education does for you – turns you into a rotund, international lightweight with a Lib Dem butler?

    I’m glad my parents saw sense to put me through comprehensive all the way.

  • Cuse wrote:

    “Is that what a Classical education does for you – turns you into a rotund, international lightweight with a Lib Dem butler?

    I’m glad my parents saw sense to put me through comprehensive all the way.”

    Tony Blair attended Fettes (where he was flogged by Chenevix-Trench), Hugh Gaitskill was a Wykehamist, Harold Wilson sent his sons to Westminster. The fact that someone has been educated at some ghastly Dotheboys Hall does not mean that they are unfit for office. Similarly, studying classics is no guarantee of managerial incompetence (Edward Gibbon did, after all, explain how the Roman Empire was governed, a difficult feat when archaeology was in its infancy).

    If Cameron is the wrong person to be governing Britain (as I think he is), then we should attack him for what he does and says, not his background.

    BTW, doesn’t Shaun Woodward have a butler?

  • Sesenco

    BTW, doesn’t Shaun Woodward have a butler?

    More than likely. It probably isn’t Nick Clegg though.

  • Keith Browning 6th Aug '10 - 12:18pm

    Political gaffes – but almost certainly telling the truth 100% of the time.

    Every time new sets of ancient cabinet papers are opened its the same old story. World leaders everywhere think they are cleverer than the peasants and try to cover up and bluster, for the benefit of their own and that of their powerful friends.
    The ongoing UFO cover ups (in the news again yesterday with Churchill) and pretence about the safety of atomic tests and nuclear power stations in the 1950s and even the search for the wreck of the Titanic, which was part of a wider search for lost nuclear material all attempts to hoodwink the general population.
    Even this week we have a nonsense about outside drinks being banned from Olympic venues in 2012 – for security reasons ????? Nothing whatsoever to do with the complex web of relationships between IOC and the worlds leading brandnames.

    If Cameron was to mention that would it be a gaffe??

    The list goes on.

    I find it quite refreshing that our leader is stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ for a change. Its what we all believe anyway.

  • charliechops1 6th Aug '10 - 1:12pm

    No one offers an explanation for these gaffes. Is David Cameron ignorant? No, not especially I would have thought. Is it a character defect(s)? Is he so overwhemed with the need to make his point that he will say the first thing that comes to mind? Given that he is weak on detail this letter explanation, if true, is potentially disastrous.

  • I find it quite refreshing that our leader is stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ for a change. Its what we all believe anyway.

    Well, some honesty at last. A Lib Dem admitting that it’s Fat Boy Dave who leads the party, not his butler, Nick.

    It’s far from refreshing. For a start – he’s been factually wrong and offensive to those who fought in WWII. It would be refreshing if he afforded the same ‘honesty’ to all countries on their foreign + domestic policies – To the US, China, Russia, even Turkey for their occupation on Northern Cyprus. But no. He just reserves his ‘honesty’ for when and how it suits him.

    It sickens me that my party is supporting this clown.

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