David Cameron’s Commons statement on Algeria just now was the most interventionist speech he has made since the one he delivered at the Foreign Policy Centre during his 2005 leadership bid. But this speech is far more important than that one because it is what he actually believes; the 2005 speech was written by Michael Gove and was given more to tick the leadership contest’s foreign policy box than anything else.
Listening to Cameron today, it is clear that the events of recent days have led him to redouble his commitment to interventionism. Indeed, in his talk of the ‘generational challenge’ and the need to ‘beat them [the terrorists] militarily’ one could hear echoes of Blair and Bush post 9/11.
Most striking, though, was Cameron’s rejection of the idea of containing the terrorist threat. In response to a question from the Tory MP Julian Lewis pushing the merits of containment as a strategy, Cameron argued that this country’s aim was ‘not containment but trying over time to completely overcome them’.