Tony Blair, the blood-drenched architect of the Afghanistan war, finally came out of hiding last weekend only to urge the West into more military adventures.
His lengthy tirade was a broadside against sections of the ruling class that have lost faith in his strategy of long wars and military occupations.
The promise of US president Joe Biden to end the “Forever Wars” particularly irks Blair. For him, the best wars are the ones that last generations.
In one bizarre passage he analyses the role of Russia in Syria.
Though Blair considers Putin an enemy, the Russian state is praised for its preparedness to act, and stay for the long-term.
“Putin committed,” Blair writes. “He has spent ten years in open-ended commitment.
“He, along with the Iranians, secured his goal.”
Blair peppers his statement with crocodile tears for the Afghan people.
But most of Blair’s effort is reserved for world leaders who have strayed from his path of bombing for democracy.
He insists that the US and Nato military withdrawal from Afghanistan is a strategic disaster for the main imperialist countries.
This, he said, would be a boost to the West’s main enemies—Russia, China and Iran.
It would leave the world “uncertain” about how the US would use its military muscle.
To underline his point, Blair paints a picture of a growing enemy, taking heart from the West’s defeat—Islam.
Like a faded pop star rehashing earlier flops, Blair claims that Muslims from opposing religious and political traditions can be thrown together as a threat to the West.
So Isis and al-Qaeda are lumped into the same category as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and even the Turkish state.
Blair’s axis of evil goes further still. He includes even the parts of the Muslim world least associated with “radical Islam”—including Indonesia and Malaysia.
They “all subscribe to basic elements of the same ideology,” he says.
The West should liken this struggle to the Cold War, he adds.
“We are in the wrong rhythm of thinking in relation to Radical Islam,” Blair argues. “With Revolutionary Communism, we recognised it as a threat of a strategic nature.
“We understood it was a real menace and we combined across nations and parties to deal with it.
“This is what we need to decide now with Radical Islam.”
Blair knows that his thinking is, for now, out of sync with Biden and those in the US who are concentrating on competition with China.
Few among them want to return to the days of having over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan while there are other battles to prepare for.
But for all his current isolation, the danger of Blair is that he still exerts a terrible influence on the political centre—within both Labour and the Tories.
Among the many weaknesses in Blair’s thinking is that he has absolutely no explanation for why the Afghan government collapsed like a pack of cards.
Neither can he explain why the Afghan military, which had over years been pumped full of dollars and pounds, refused to fight the Taliban.
“There was endemic corruption in government,” Blair acknowledges. “But there were also good people doing good work to the benefit of the people.” In reality, the government’s tenuous hold on the main cities lasted only as long as it was able to dish out Western cash.
But Blair seems now to have cooled on his early fantasy of imposing a Western‑style democracy in Afghanistan.
The “humanitarian” part of his drive for intervention has been lost.
All that remains is his demand to maintain the fight against Islam for “strategic” reasons.
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