David Cameron and Sun Tzu’s Art of War – John Gelmini

Barack Obama, President, talked with David Cam...

Barack Obama, President, talked with David Cameron, Prime Minister, and Angela Merkel, Chancellor, at the 36th G8 summit in Muskoka District Municipality, Ontario Province on June 25, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would like to thank Dr Alf for reblogging the Telegraph article entitled “Francois Hollande: France will not help David Cameron with EU reforms”.  In answer to Dr Alf’s question, I think that we should be worried about David Cameron‘s poker playing skills as statesman. Let me try to share clarify my views.

David Cameron is good at making speeches and grandstanding but one only has to look at his negotiating skills to see that 90% of the time he loses and others ranging from the Chinese to Angela Merkel, run rings round him.

Tony Blair and Sir John Major, for all their faults, were much better at this sort of thing but I’m afraid that David Cameron is simply not in the same league when it comes to horsetrading and political skullduggery.

What Cameron does is make grand announcements about what the EU or whoever needs to be doing, tries to negotiate, comes away with nothing but a bloody nose and then makes another speech pretending that he has achieved something.

He tries to talk tough to experienced operators, like Vladimir Putin and Lavrov, when he lacks the military and other means to back up his rhetoric, and then wonders why they treat him with contempt as they have done on the matter of Syria where Assad looks more in power than ever.

The world is a tough and dangerous place, where one has to be prepared to back words with deeds, or as Sun Tzu would put it “know how to win without fighting”.

David Cameron does not know how to win or how to fight because his life has been one of inherited wealth, privilege and being given things on a plate.

He said that he wanted to be Prime Minister because he thought “I would be rather good at it”. Sadly, he is not in the same league as Margaret Thatcher, who knew how to negotiate or that great Edwardian gentleman, Harold MacMillan, who although he was a grandee, understood ordinary people through his experience of commanding them and fighting with them in World War 1.

People who you negotiate with look at who you are, where you have come from, and the strength of the hand you hold. They prepare, they look you in the eye, get your measure, and if they see you are unprepared and “winging it”, they will in the words of “the Donald”, “Eat your lunch” and regard you as the Chinese regard many Western leaders as “Children playing in a sandpit”.

They look at David Cameron, as I and others do, and sadly find him wanting.

I fear it may be too late for David Cameron to add Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to his holiday reading list.

John Gelmini

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5 responses

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