PRIME MINISTER – TERRORISM & CONTAINMENT – 21 January 2013
Dr Julian Lewis: May I commend to the Prime Minister the concept of containment when he is considering these long-term problems? It served us well both for 70 years in the Cold War and for 38 years in relation to Northern Ireland, and it would help to avoid an oscillation of policy from over-involvement on the ground, at one extreme, to too little involvement and an over-emphasis on withdrawal, at the other.
[The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend makes an extremely intelligent point, and I will think about it carefully. Part of my response would be to say that in a country such as Somalia our aim should not be to contain the problems of terrorism in Somalia; it should be to work with the Somali Government to build up Somali security forces and to work with the Somalis to have a better political solution to political problems in that country, so that, over time, politically, militarily and diplomatically, through aid and everything else, we squeeze the terrorists out of the space. That is not containing; it is trying, over time, to overcome them completely. That is the ambition we should have, but it does not mean, to answer the hon. Member for Bolsover (Dennis Skinner), that we have to have some sort of “crusading zeal”; it means that we have to have real resolve, but bring an intelligent mix of answers to these very deep problems.]