Cameron's Disastrous Action

Britain's highbrow (literally) and well-scrubbed Prime Minister -- the very epitome of the Oxbridge system of producing British elites -- might well, by contrast, be dubbed the goat of the year.
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Britain's highbrow (literally) and well-scrubbed Prime Minister -- the very epitome of the Oxbridge system of producing British elites -- might well, by contrast, be dubbed the goat of the year. He organized a referendum that didn't have to be held; its unexpected outcome has toppled him out of power; and he is responsible for a downturn of British credibility on the world scene. One is left with the question: how could one man have so screwed up the future of his country?

In my former position as Chief of the Operations Directorate's Near East and South Asia Division of the CIA, I had many contacts with our counterpart organization, the Secret Intelligence Service or MI-6. Virtually all of them were quite favorable.

As individuals they were competent and ingratiating, as they played Athens to our Rome as, I think, Harold MacMillan put it. Of course, we didn't object to the formulation, as we didn't mind being seen as effectively exerting superior power.

Their language skills generally exceeded ours. This is not surprising, as they had history behind them; we had less. MI-6 reports on the world at large -- exceptionally -- were to be taken seriously.

Hopefully the value of this system of close cooperation between intelligence organizations in both the US and the UK will not be diminished by Cameron's ill-thought-out action.

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