I don't recall ever having read a copy of Esquire but the name does ring a bell. I've always imagined it as some tacky men's magazine', that is if I've ever actually thought of it at all. Not quite porn, but a bit seedy nevertheless. Certainly, not a serious political journal. But it was being given away as a complimentary copy by my holiday hotel and the front cover did look intriguing. 

Everybody, myself included, loves to hate Tony Blair these days, so, with an interview on offer with the man himself, I grabbed the mag and began to read, but without having any great expectations either way. But to tell you the truth, I think that Mr Bilmes, the author of the Tony Blair interview, has done a damn good job, neither falling into the trap of blind sycophancy nor shutting the man down without letting him express himself. In the end, I think Bilmes has produced a textured, nuanced interview which presents Blair, I suspect, fairly accurately. And having read the interview twice, the most charitable thing I can say of our former Prime Minister, is that he is a well-intentioned fool.

By this I mean that Blair really does believe he is doing god's work. He really does believe that western intervention and regime change are the legitimate right of the USA and Britain. He actually believes that all the unilateral wars of intervention by the West make the world a better place, despite the glaring evidence to the contrary. So, in that sense, you might say, as Blair desperately attempts to argue throughout the interview, that, love him or hate him, he is always, in his delusional mind, well intentioned.

But even a cursory knowledge of world history would have to lead you to the conclusion that Blair is a complete fool. The West has been meddling in other country's affairs for centuries and everywhere and always it has led to more misery, more exploitation, more sectarian division and ultimately, civil war. I can think of no example of western intervention that has made a situation better. Every western intervention in South America, in Africa and, as we need no reminding, in the Middle East, has led to civil war, dictatorship and greater social oppression. And in every situation, the west has either directly or indirectly weakened the secular, democratic forces in the region thus setting back the cause of social progress by decades, if not centuries. The number of bloody corpses created indirectly by these interventions is incalculable. Yet still the likes of Tony Blair argue the case for more intervention. That to me is the definition of a fool. When something patently doesn't work stop doing it.

And, what any student of world history would know, is that many countries in Africa and the Middle East are nothing but artificial constructs, created by western colonial powers as part of their ever- expanding colonial empires. Lines drawn arbitrarily across the map to create spheres of European influence, but lines that took no account of local traditions, tribal loyalties and historical realities. One group, tribe or religion was played off against another, in a clearly articulated policy of divide and rule. And the results of these colonial machinations have been bloody indeed. The recent blood-bath between the Hutu and Tutsi peoples of Rwanda is just one graphic example of where western meddling can lead. There are countless others.

Take for example the recent bloody history in Iraq. Having armed to the teeth the Baathist/ Sunni leader, Sadaam Hussein, as a bulwark against a Shia Islamic revolution in Iran, the West sat idle by as the two sides slaughtered each-other in a WW1 style border war. Close to a million conscript solders were to needlessly die. Then, after a series of mixed messages from the Pentagon, Iraq decides it's safe to reincorporate Kuwait into the Iraqi nation. But Uncle Sam has a change of heart and regards this little escapade as a threat to its oil interests in the region. The West then launches not one but two bloody interventions against the Iraqi hard-man  the second time ousting the Sunnis leader altogether.

And who were to be the beneficiaries of this western meddling? You guessed it  the Shia dominated government of Iran  the very Mullahs that the West had sought to curtail. Now the entire region is wracked by a Shia/Sunni internecine war, made all the worse by the emergence, in direct response to all this western intervention that Tony Blair is so desperate to defend, of a neo-fascistic Islamic death cult better known as Islamic State. Now while we might argue that some of these religious and territorial tensions were already bubbling away beneath the surface, Western intervention has inevitably made things so much worse. And not only for the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East, but also for the citizens of Europe and North America, who must now live under a permanent threat of blind anarchic Islamist terror.

Yet still Tony Blair seeks to defend the indefensible. In fact, if he had his way he would launch even more western interventions, only this time with better planning for the aftermath. A fool indeed. To get a feel for the lunacy of this well-intentioned fool, I provide the following extract from Blimes interview. Blimes puts this to ex-Prime Minister Blair:

This is the news report: Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain went to war alongside the United States in Iraq in 2003 on the basis of flawed intelligence that went unchallenged, a shaky legal rationale, inadequate preparation and exaggerated statements, an independent inquiry into the war concluded. That's their factual report of the findings of the Chilcot Report. It is a devastating summary. Do you disagree with it?

Tony Blair replies;

I disagree with all the summaries like that. First of all, there are elements that go on the other side of the ledger in respect of all of these things. For example, people talk about flawed intelligence without talking about the final reports, which actually go into detail about what the intentions of the Iraqi regime were and what the future would have held if we hadn't removed it. And in the end, you've still got two very fundamental questions that you have to answer. One: What would have happened if we hadn't invaded? Would the world be a more safe place today? Secondly, for me as the British Prime Minister, there was a big question: were you going to side at that point with the Americans, or with those led by Russia who were opposed to the intervention.

Here is an ex-Prime Minister who seems to have absolutely no sense of history at all. This is an astoundingly bland, almost childlike response to not only Chilcot but to the entire history of western imperialist machinations in the Middle East. And then to try to wrap it up in redundant cold war rhetoric really is so cheap and hollow that it is hardly worth comment. For my mind Blair and Bush are war criminals whether they had good intentions or not. But of course, in reality they were only the political representatives of the giant US military-industrial complex, so in that sense, not two but thousands of US and British military industrialists should be in the dock.

This will almost certainly not happen and since Iraq we can add Libya and Yemen to the list of countries brought to ruin by western corporate interests. In fact, it would be easier to list the countries that have not fallen victim to western colonial manoeuvrings than to list those that have. From the insightful interview it is plain that Blair has learnt nothing from his time as junior partner to US imperialism and neither has the political class that dominate both sides of the Atlantic. Will an isolationist Trump Presidency be any different? Watch this space but don't hold your breathe.

End JPK Copyright 12/11/16

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 May 2018 08:18 )