10 May 2005
The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle. In the prolonged period of peace in Europe, there has been a temptation to neglect our defences, both physical and psychological. This represents one of the great dangers of the postmodern state.
‘The new liberal imperialism’, Robert Cooper
There could be no clearer example of the return to the age of imperialism than Cooper’s statement above, taken from an essay published in April 2002. Cooper, a former Foreign Office official was, and no doubt still is, one of Blair’s chief ideological advisors (Cooper was based in Afghanistan, then Iraq and then back in the EU as a military expert).