Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 24, 2014

Tony Blair joins “axis of good”

Filed under: Islamophobia — louisproyect @ 1:32 am

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/10781481/West-and-Russia-must-unite-to-tackle-radical-Islam-says-Tony-Blair.html

West and Russia must unite to tackle radical Islam, says Tony Blair

The former prime minister says that the danger from religious extremism is ‘growing’ and is more important than differences over Ukraine

By Hayley Dixon, and agencies

Highlighting the ”growing” danger from religious extremism, the former prime minister is to call for it to be put at the ”top of the agenda”.

Failing to ”take sides” with moderates in the Middle East and North Africa could mean the 21st century is dominated by conflict rather than peaceful coexistence, he will say.

Mr Blair is due to make the intervention in a speech at Bloomberg in London on Wednesday morning.

It comes with tensions still running high in eastern Ukraine, and after Russia was jettisoned from the G8 group of nations over Vladimir Putin’s decision to annexe the Crimea.

But Mr Blair will describe a wider crisis with its roots in ”a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam’s true message”.

”The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world.

”It is destabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful coexistence in an era of globalisation.

”And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.”

Mr Blair – Middle East envoy for the quartet of the United Nations, EU, US, and Russia – will say there needs to be a new policy of ”engagement” in the region and beyond.

”We have to elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda,” he will say.

”All over the world the challenge of defeating this ideology requires active and sustained engagement.

”Consider this absurdity: that we spend billions of dollars on security arrangements and on defence to protect ourselves against the consequences of an ideology that is being advocated in the formal and informal school systems and in civic institutions of the very countries with whom we have intimate security and defence relationships.

”Some of those countries of course wish to escape from the grip of this ideology.

”But often it is hard for them to do so within their own political constraints. They need to have this issue out in the open where it then becomes harder for the promotion of this ideology to happen underneath the radar.

”In other words they need us to make this a core part of the international dialogue in order to force the necessary change within their own societies.

”This struggle between what we may call the open-minded and the closed-minded is at the heart of whether the 21st century turns in the direction of peaceful coexistence or conflict between people of different cultures.”

Conceding that recent conflicts such as Iraq had eroded the willingness of Western nations to act, Mr Blair will say it is nonetheless necessary to ”take sides”.

”The important point for Western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn’t just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support,” he will say.

”It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved; where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilised, organised and helped.

”But what is absolutely necessary is that we first liberate ourselves from our own attitude. We have to take sides. We have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time. We have to have an approach to the region that is coherent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to commit. We have to engage.”

Mr Blair will argue that ”on this issue, whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and cooperate with the East, and in particular, Russia and China”.

He will repeat his defence of the popular coup that overthrew Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been ”systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country”.

”The revolt of 30 June 2013 was not an ordinary protest. It was the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation. We should support the new government and help,” he will say.

Aides to the former premier insisted it was too ”blunt” to suggest Mr Blair is simply advocating more military action.

He is trying to make clear the issue has to be addressed in its ”religious as well as its political context”, they said.

7 Comments »

  1. Is this an admission that the Arab spring and colour revolutions are not progressing in the way the west wants them too? Also, the only additional aid available is military. US NGOs are all over the region along with western intelligence operatives.

    Comment by Jim Brash — April 24, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

  2. No, its a statement of strategic hostility to the Arab Spring tout court; it was never a “Western-inspired color revolution”. That’s the line of the motley collection Western Left-liberal-Islamophobes, Russian Orthodox church adherents, troglodyte neo-Stalinists and assorted “counter-hegemonist” opportunist believers in an almighty “US Empire” that supposedly pulls everybody’s strings everywhere and somehow is able to magically conjure up mass uprisings and movements out of thin air, anywhere. Oh and I forgot to add, also the line of real honest to goodness Zionists, the ones running the state of Israel and AIPAC. Oh, and Saudi Arabia. Oh, and let’s not forget Putin’s Russia, effectively the Great Leader of the Axis of Good.

    The persistent bashing of the Arab Spring has to be one of the greatest political crimes committed by too many on the Left in a long time.

    The real “color revolution” was the carefully orchestrated left-liberal “secular” support for the Sisi military coup against Morsi and the MB.

    With the nonsense out of the way, I’ll say that I was a bit surprised by Blair’s statement. The old boy appears to be deliberately stepping out of the anti-Russian line of march with his careful wording, so no it’s not premature dementia setting in. I think Blair may represent a significant swath of opinion within the British bourgeoisie, whose political spokespersons have been strangely muted and proforma in re Ukraine and Russia, particularly in comparison with the US, and you know how noxiously self-righteous these Original Puritans can be in the UK. Normally when the US launches some adventure – and I do believe the US has launched one in Ukraine in the wake of Maidan, exploiting the political vacuum to push a rivalry with Russia, but that’s another discussion – the UK poodle gets aggressively out in front yapping its head off. Why is the poodle now cowering behind Sam’s leg trembling?

    The UK’s own “anti-Russian” policy has been limited to protecting the freedom of Russian capitalist oligarchs to stash their cash in the City. Financial sanctions against Russian capitalists aren’t good for the only business that keeps the UK afloat as a “power” internationally. In this the UK bourgeoisie shows considerable perspicacity in comparison to its German counterparts, who have more to lose in a “new cold war” with Russia.

    And what’s with Israel *abstaining* on the UN vote on the Russian annexation of Crimea? Gosh, what happened to the “AngloZionist” Yankee Empire? The chess pieces don’t really line up as neatly as our connect-the-dot bullshitters would have us believe.

    -Matt

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — April 24, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  3. Might add, Putin’s Russia as Great Leader of an Grand Eurasian (Anti-Sunni, to pull in also Assad, Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran) Islamophobic Alliance has pull in both Islamophobic Europe and with China.

    Hence the US strategic anxiety to head this off at the European pass. Perhaps Blair doesn’t think the US will succeed.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — April 24, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

  4. <>

    Quite refreshing to hear them speak so candidly. They are usually so camera shy. He really lays out some broad agreements which makes fools of alot of people: the poor saps who support or supported Sisi, Assad, and Russia in almost everything. More than embarrassing to realise Riyad, Washington, London and Moscow, among others, have a common understanding and strategy.

    Comment by seaspan — April 24, 2014 @ 11:27 pm

  5. I think that it is a dubious enterprise to seek coherence out of anything Tony Blair says. He was a friend of Qaddafi, until he wasn’t. He complains about his construct, “radical Islam”, while scrupulously avoiding identifying its sponsors and suggesting that concrete action to deal with them. Indeed, he aligns himself with the most important sponsor, Saudi Arabia, against Qatar in the struggle over Egypt. In doing so, he supports a coup against an Islamic political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, known for having abandoned terror for participation in the Egyptian political process. Meanwhile, he continues to target Iran as a problem even though it has no connection to the radical Islamic terror groups that he considers so dangerous.

    Blair calls it a struggle of two sides, and yet, it is impossible to identify them for his remarks. Apparently, the only distinguishing characteristic is that the other side is considered hostile to US/UK interests, papering over obvious incompatibilities among them. He rhetorically maneuvers his way throughout the region like a python. It is easier to impose a rational interpretation upon the poems of Christopher Knowles than it is understand Tony Blair.

    Comment by Richard Estes — April 25, 2014 @ 1:24 am

  6. Blair is basically good at sniffing out money. This is the motivation of his political analysis.

    Comment by jeff — April 25, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  7. This is actually one of the more coherent of Blair’s utterances.

    On a related subject, Ukraine Sec. of State John Kerry’s speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWzxsZ850Ww

    This guy is really having to stoop low. Kerry in even forced to explicitly attack RT.com. Guess the USG is feeling the competitive heat. It makes clear that Washington calls the shots in Kiev for the time being.

    So Washington has three repression problems: Suppress a bunch of freeloading white-supremacists in Nevada, potentially Waco-style; Shut down the RT “propaganda hole” in the US at least; Repress the Donbass.

    What an utter POS this so-called “Sec. of State” is, too cowardly and insecure to take questions.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — April 25, 2014 @ 5:25 pm


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