Monday, 26 November 2007

Archbishop thrown into row over US Middle East policy

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, found himself plunged into political controversy yesterday after remarks made during the course of a wide-ranging interview for a Muslim magazine were translated into an all-out attack on American policy in the Middle East.

The archbishop told Emel magazine in what it described as "a series of profound views expressed in serene tranquillity" that the US had lost the moral high ground since the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, and that Washington's attempts to accumulate influence and control in the region were not working.

He was quoted as saying: "It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that's what the British empire did - in India, for example. It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put things back together - Iraq, for example."

The Sunday Times interpreted the remarks as implying that the US was the "worst" imperialist nation and that the crisis was caused by its actions and its misguided sense of its own mission. Read more
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