He’ll fight anyone for a quid.
Tony Blair has called on the west to stop “wringing our hands” as he endorsed intervention against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and warned governments against ostracising the military dictatorship in Egypt.
Shouldn’t The Blairster be gardening or enjoying a round of golf with Jacklin Straw or something and keeping the eff out.
In his first intervention since the chemical weapons attack last week, the former prime minister said the west should not be neutral in protecting Syrians from the Assad regime and “affiliates of al-Qaida” seeking to exploit the instability.
Blair made his remarks in a Times article in which he said the west should acknowledge the threats in Syria and Egypt.
Why? So Blair can bestride the World like a colostomy bag? Again.
He wrote: “Western policy is at a crossroads: commentary or action; shaping events or reacting to them. After the long and painful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand every impulse to stay clear of the turmoil, to watch but not to intervene, to ratchet up language but not to engage in the hard, even harsh business of changing reality on the ground. But we have collectively to understand the consequences of wringing our hands instead of putting them to work.”
He is utterly incorrigible. The last time Tony put “hands to work” thousands died and many more were maimed and the current result is the creation of two more Islamic Republics and absolute chaos and ongoing slaughter. I mean if you’d been instrumental in two horrendous car crashes in short order you need a face of brass to apply to subsequently apply for a job as a taxi driver in the same manor? The tonemeister though doesn’t have a face of brass. He has one of diamond.
“I hear people talking as if there was nothing we could do: the Syrian defence systems are too powerful, the issues too complex and, in any event, why take sides since they’re all as bad as each other?” he wrote. “It is time we took a side: the side of the people who want what we want; who see our societies for all their faults as something to admire; who know that they should not be faced with a choice between tyranny and theocracy.”
Unfortunately, that would appear to be the non-choice. If His High Tonyness can actually explain precisely what the difference between theocracy and tyranny is then maybe doing something might be in order but it seems to me (this is a general point) that if you are going to be actively involved in a war you need to choose a side otherwise you are going in against everyone: Assad, the military, Sunni, Shia, whatever. We did that in Iraq and that worked out terrific did it not? Look, it might be unpalatable but if two sides are “as bad as each other” then surely the only sensible option is to stay out of it. Well, militarily at least. Perhaps helping out Turkey, Jordan and Iraq* with the huge numbers of refugees but Blair getting his missile aimin’ finger ready by proxy is not the way. That way madness lies. We’d have to ally with some nasty pieces of work either way or, as Blair seems to imply make ourselves the cheese and the pickle sandwiched between one form of tyranny and another. You can’t force people to be “free” at gun-point, Mr Blair. Heaven knows mind (and I hope St. Peter is taking notes) he tried both here and abroad. Dismally.
Blair, who was close to the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, also warns it would be a grave strategic error to ostracise the government that has overthrown former president Mohammed Morsi.
Hold on! I thought Blair wanted an er… third way between Islamist nutjobbery and Nationalistic/Militaristic tyranny for Syria? So why is Egypt different? Also isn’t Blair one of those true Beliebers in the idea that the Great God Democracy is the be all and end-all of freedom and all the flowers coming-up pretty and every day being the first day of spring and all that jazz? Call me an old git and all but democracy only works on a substrate of the rule of law and general decency within a society. Hosni Mubarak was and is not a decent man. But he was mates with The Tonemeister so that’s OK for his old army pals to toss aside the democracy Blair so idolizes. I mean Morsi and his minions ( let us not forget that the Muslim Brotherhood is very much the “intellectual” foundation of Al Queda and all the rest of Sonny (if not precisely Cher) Islamic nutjobbery). Blair here is guilty of the sort of Realpolitik that would have had Bismarck blushing. Bismarck at least could be cunning about it. Blair is blatent in a way that could take the breath of a sperm whale surfacing after a long squid-hunt.
He wrote: “You can rightly criticise actions or overreactions of the new military government but it is quite hard to criticise the intervention that brought it into being … We should support the new government in stabilising the country, urge everyone, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to get off the streets, and let a proper and short process to an election be put in place with independent observers.”
“Stabilising the country”! I recently spoke to Paul Marks on the subject of Egypt. I said basically I’d always wanted to go and see the old stuff there. He reckoned all Hell would reign for decades (cheers Paul!) and moreover I reluctantly had to agree. That’s how stable Egypt is. A place within easy flying time with cool things to see like pyramids and coral reefs and a trip down the Nile on a flash boat with an intriguing murder solved by a dapper Belgian… But nah… Ain’t going to happen is it? The only place in the Near or Middle East I can even conceive of going in any realistic time-scale is Israel. Well, there’s lots to see and do there I guess. I guess the Gulf States are OK (ish) but if I’m expected to pay top dollar for Sharia Disneyland in the UAE then they can bugger off. Even Turkey is looking dicey unless they kick Erdogan into the long grass soonish. And I really liked Turkey when I was there a couple of years back. It’s a tragedy I tells ya! A whole slew of countries and hundreds of millions of people caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of militant nationalism (or Arab socialism or whatever the feck they call it these days) and Islamic craziness.
An aside. In a sense, a very poor sense, I didn’t get much of a view, I have been to Egypt and Israel already. But in utereo doesn’t really count! I mean the view isn’t there is it? I was born in 1973 (my parents visited both countries on their way back from a teaching stint in Zambia in the year of the Yom Kippur War. It was a few weeks before the shi’ite hit the turbofan but I’m not chancing it again! The minute my parents hit Egyptian airspace they got a MiG escort and their hotel had AAA on the roof. To enter Israel from Egypt they had to dog-leg via Cyprus. For fuck’s sake! That’s like me going to France via Denmark. Anyhow I was safely delivered in Newcastle on the 5th of September 1973. The Yom Kippur War kicked-off on the 6th of October. I reckon I’m down one already on squeaking through all manner of goat-fuckery, chaos and slaughter erupting for no apparent reason. Well, for obvious reasons. Generalissimos who take their style tips from Mussolini or deranged religious fanatics who think a couple holding hands in the street is a sin but are OK with firing rockets at a primary school.
Blair acknowledged that people were acting cautiously after the Iraqi intervention. He wrote: “In this struggle, we should not be neutral. From the threat of the Iranian regime to the pulverising of Syria to the pains of the Egyptian revolution, from Libya to Tunisia, in Africa, central Asia and the far east, wherever this extremism is destroying the lives of innocent people, we should be at their side and on it.
Two small points: the first is Blair is spreading his net astonishingly geographically wide.
I should say though first, bolded, sentence was fucking priceless but I won’t because the rest is the Holy Grail wrapped in the Shroud of Turin and encased in the Ark of the Covenant alongside the Spear of Destiny. It is verging on the unfiskable. Who’s side exactly Tony? if we are not to be neutral? Really, if this is a clash between Islamists and seamingly “pro-western”* militaristic nationalists then how do we honestly take sides. Who’s side are we on? I suspect Blair thinks (at some level – like a daddy long legs banging at the window again and again) that everyone wants the sane and rational World he believes he represents and that reasonableness can be imposed because he believes this is innate to humanity and he’s a “humanitarian kinda guy” and everyone would be like him if they only had the chance which follows in the wake of a great, nay Churchillian*, unloading of JDAMs and 20 mike mike down-range… Well this is Bolockio the Clown on more layers than the Burj Khalifa. It is the myth that everyone wants good and civilized things – that that is their state of nature. Well, many do. Many want the opposite for all sorts of reasons. And of course we all disagree on what is “good”. I am not Jewish, Muslim, Vegetarian or whatever but I can’t stand pork (bacon and ham and stuff I’m fine with) so that is where I stand on that. Now if anyone reading this is thinking, “Hey, but I had a lovely bit of pork recently!” then fine. Cool. Similarly I don’t eat prawns (the bugs of the seas). That is just Nick. But I don’t want those who violate my dietary rules to be stoned or hung or whatever. In a counter-intuitive sense (perhaps) the greatest statement of individuality is not to care about what other people like because the genuinely natural corollary of that is that they can’t tell you what you want. Or rather what you should want.
The Blairite agenda here is precisely the idea of deciding not just what is good for people but an imposition of will and this based upon a very deep assumption that fundamentally everyone is like him deep down and therefore wants what he wants. Or should do. It’s an old, old story. Rouseau believed in “forcing people to be ‘free’”. Of course this was for whatever value of “free” Rouseau believed in. Or Blair. Or Khomeini, or Monbiot, or whoever. You just cannot force people to be free. To be fair to Rouseau I think he knew he was taking ze piss. I don’t think that about Blair. He believes. That his beliefs wander like a Markov process between ill-starred paternalism and wishful-thinking is no matter. It’s the genius delusion. It goes like this. If he believes he is a genius (and he does – in the original sense) then he must be right however stupid, barking-mad, self contradictory (getting involved in a civil-war without taking sides – very “third way”), unpopular, deranged, irrelevant or solipsistic the actual scheme is. Or, let’s sum-up the last 1896 words shall we? Blair believes with a clinched and absolute certainty that he is right and that he is good and that all it would take for everything to be OK and fair and democratic and decent and nice and the Lion would safely kip with the lamb and the planet would look like a ton of Duplo in a play-pen and all that is for him to impose that by force. He is utterly deluded. Freedom, decency, everything that matters comes from down-below. Sorry Tony but it’s me sticking a 50p piece in a pot for “Help for Heroes” and not you putting them in the way of harm in the first place in the name of some deranged dream of democracy as a panacea (when you deem it convenient, natch) in some shit-hole (and Afghanistan is a spherical crapulation beyond measure – well, maybe Somalia pips it) where we don’t have any palpable interest.
I am astonished that in this day and age, years since he left power Blair still has the capacity to astonish with his shark-jumps. It is stunning. They broke the mould when they made Blair.
At least I hope so.
* Or should that be Chinchillian? I dunno. the chinchilla is a cute critter and Blair is a deranged fantasist.