.@RoryStewartUK tells @CommonsForeign Afghanistan enquiry there is a "rottenness" in FCDO caused by Treasury staff cuts, says dept analytical capability is poor + there is a lack of appetite for it in Whitehall anyway
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign Lord Richards agrees but says it's not just FCDO - political analysis gaps across gov't, including intelligence agencies
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign Stewart says gov'ts need to work "smarter + lighter" internationally as "only sanity we can hope to emerge with"
As opposed to "total isolationism"
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign Citing intervention in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Stewart says the "choice doesn't need to be between doing nothing or going in + spending a trillion $ and losing lives"
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign "Development projects all round the world face those problems [corruption] bc they are problems in states of v poor countries," says Stewart.
But insists a "lot was achieved" in Afghanistan
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign "Optimism bias" saw Afghanistan fall to Taliban, says Stewart. Says he was staying w Pres Ghani before Biden in + Ghani
1. Didn't want to annoy an incoming US Pres
2. Didn't actually think US withdrawal wld happen
@RoryStewartUK @CommonsForeign Stewart says he doesn't believe Britain/FCDO wants to lead/take responsibility, taking original + difficult positions + fighting for them
Fact UK can't keep a few thousand soldiers on the ground w a £40bn defence budget "tells us a lot about the way we spend out money" says Stewart
Biden treated UK in a "brutal" way re Afghanistan - Stewart
... no consultation, "he didn't seem to care any more" even after years of UK involvement in Afghanistan, says Stewart. Says parts of UK gov will object next time the US asks for something big
Dominic Raab and (FCDO top official) Philip Barton roles re. Afghanistan are part of a "bigger systemic problem"

That is: lack of seriousness, responsibility + grip re Afghanistan, says Stewart
Fact so many ppl on hols "was not professional + serious enough" + tells a lot about the UK system - "It is not professional + serious enough"
"If we want to be Global Britain, be taken seriously as a diplo/mil power, we're going to have to act seriously" says Stewart
Stewart asks if ambassadors get promoted for conveying intelligence or "happy speak"
While DFID Minister, Stewart says he was "completely defeated" on investing in a £70m Afghan policing project by a Whitehall system that didn't want to focus on details, had little historical memory, + non expert officials
"System isn't serious" he says
MP Alicia Kearns (herself fmr FCO) says Stewart's reflections on difficulties working with civil servants are "wholly accurate"

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More from @willrworley

30 Jun
Estimates Day debate on UK aid begins. @SarahChampionMP opens by saying that she wanted to examine the FCDO's spending plans but information "simply isn't being shared by the FCDO" and @CommonsIDC has had to "fight tooth + nail to extract whatever info it can from gov"
Champion says gov is showing "contempt" for parliamentary scrutiny
Champion continues on this theme.
A lot of what she refers to in her speech can be found here:
Read 156 tweets

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