Earlier this month, the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty was held in London as a way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Centre for Policy Studies, co-founded by Sir Keith Joseph and Ms. Thatcher. The international conference brought together a “world class line-up of speakers,” which included leading academics, foreign affairs experts, and other prominent public figures. Former U.S. Military General David Petraeus, who now serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, was another notable speaker in attendance, whose remarks have been quoted heavily since the event.
At the conference, General Petraeus spoke out about U.S. military interventions abroad, immigration policies, and other issues pertaining to foreign affairs. In what many reporters are dubbing “blunt statements,” Petraeus spoke rather honestly about the dangers of military interventions that would aid Baghdad’s government. “This cannot be the United States being the Air Force of Shia militias or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight,” Petraeus explained, addressing the importance of remaining nonpartisan in Iraq.
He continues, “It has to be a fight of all of Iraq against extremists who do happen to be Sunni Arabs but extremists that are wreaking havoc on a country that really had an enormous opportunity back in 2011, has made progress in certain areas by has certainly not capitalized on that enormous opportunity in the way that we had all hoped.”
One of the most compelling points that Petraeus made at the Conference on Liberty was how it is so important that a country’s people do not feel disenfranchised by their own government. “There has to be a government that is trusted by all elements of the society,” he explained, adding that it the American government and military would be making a mistake if it were to appear biased in Iraq.
The Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty proved to be an incredible event that revealed a great deal about many cultural climates. To read transcripts of David Petraeus’ commentary and watch streaming video from the conference, visit www.cps.org.