The name Tony Blair is enough to make one vomit.
This man is in many ways the spiritual founder, the articulator in chief of the neo-con/neoliberal/regime change/neo-Trotskyist policies which have ravaged much of the world, brought humanity to the brink of war between the nuclear powers and disenfranchised millions of voters in putative democracies.
Far from being just George W. Bush’s poodle in 1999 Tony Blair told the world of his plans to use military force not for defence against aggression but to intervene in sovereign states in order to force alien ideologies on nations without their consent.
The speech was made in Chicago following the illegal NATO bombings of Serbia, bombings which targeted civilian sites such as hospitals.
There are still refugees from this crisis. It is crucial to remind oneself that when Blair made this speech ‘Dubya’ had never held any Federal office in America.
Here are some important excerpts from the speech:
“Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men – Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. Both have been prepared to wage vicious campaigns against sections of their own community. As a result of these destructive policies both have brought calamity on their own peoples. Instead of enjoying its oil wealth Iraq has been reduced to poverty, with political life stultified through fear. Milosevic took over a substantial, ethnically diverse state, well placed to take advantage of new economic opportunities. His drive for ethnic concentration has left him with something much smaller, a ruined economy and soon a totally wined military machine
One of the reasons why it is now so important to win the conflict is to ensure that others do not make the same mistake in the future. That in itself will be a major step to ensuring that the next decade and the next century will not be as difficult as the past. If NATO fails in Kosovo, the next dictator to be threatened with military force may well not believe our resolve to carry the threat through….
The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people’s conflicts. Non -interference has long been considered an important principle of international order. And it is not one we would want to jettison too readily. One state should not feel it has the right to change the political system of another or foment subversion or seize pieces of territory to which it feels it should have some claim. But the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as “threats to international peace and security”. When regimes are based on minority rule they lose legitimacy – look at South Africa.”
Blair went on to give a litmus test for when and where the Western powers should make war upon sovereign states whilst effectively discarding the United Nations as the proper institution through which international security policies are made.
Blair’s appetite for war only increased after Kosovo.
He sent British troops into Sierra Leone on a neo-colonial adventure in the year 2000.
He eagerly went into Afghanistan where his and Bush’s losing war is still bring pointlessly fought.
Most infamously he went against world opinion – including Western powers such as France, Germany and Canada – to attack Iraq.
In London alone one million people marched in protest against his war, the biggest demonstration in British history.
But the man willing to drop bombs on children in the name of spreading democracy did not listen to the voices of his own people.
He did not listen to expert opinions.
He did not listen to the UN.
He did not listen to wise voices in his own Parliament.
The results of course were a disaster. A stable Middle East has been destroyed and the justification for such actions were authored by Blair in 1999.
Domestically his record was little better.
Blair had a pathological hatred for traditional institutions of British culture, both those of the left and the right, including universally cherished ones. His time in office saw British society transformed from one that was generally tolerant, fair and forgiving, to one that became brutish, unjust and corrupt.
There is little to laugh about when it comes to Blair, not least if one recalls the millions he has made through dodgy business deals since leaving office.
But recently he has appeared back in the news implying that he wants to return to politics.
I have to confess that I laughed out loud.
Tony Blair has in fact made a seriously unique accomplishment. He has united neo-liberals, neo-conservatives, traditional liberals, traditional conservatives, globalists, anti-globalists, Europhiles, Eurosceptics, the far left and the far right. He has united them all in hatred of him.
Adding a further awkward element to the comeback of a man whom all of Britain is happy to see the back of, he claims that Britain is now a one-party state.
Ironically it was during Blair’s time as PM that Britain became a one party state. He choked and stifled debate, discarded intellectual arguments as pompous, and created a reductionist sound-bite language which politicians aspired to master, even though it conveyed no meaningful concepts to anyone.
Blair forced a brain-drain from his own party, where anyone with an original idea was confined to the periphery or pushed out entirely.
In this respect the Tories and Liberals soon engaged Blair in a race to the bottom.
Today things are slightly better. There is a clear intellectual and ideological divide between a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour party and the Tories under Theresa May.
For the first time since prior to Blair there is a clear choice, and that is what he cannot stand.
His problem is that no one can stand him.