Position of Tony Blair: Turning truth on its head to defend the indefensible

LODNON (3 August 2006) - ON AUGUST 1, Tony Blair delivered a major speech on foreign policy to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. The Prime Minister used the occasion not to call for an end to hostilities in the Middle East but rather to intensify the Anglo-American offensive against what he referred to as the "arc of extremism now stretching across the Middle East," and what he has decided to call "reactionary Islam." Tony Blair made his position very clear, "This is war," he declared, "but of a completely unconventional kind." To win this war, Blair argued, there needs to be an "alliance of moderation," which fights for what the Prime Minister likes to call "global values." In using this term, he is not referring to the values of the defence of sovereignty, the outlawing of crimes against peace and humanity, which the world's people shed their blood to establish in the defeat of Hitlerite fascism. No. What Tony Blair means by "global values" are the Eurocentric values of neo-liberal globalisation enshrined in the Paris Charter, which the Anglo-American alliance and the other big powers are attempting to impose throughout the world. This "export of democracy" has now become a war "not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century."

The Prime Minister presents a view of the world in which Israeli Zionism is the victim, in which there is a struggle between "reactionary Islam" and "moderate mainstream Islam," in which the invasion of other countries is undertaken by the U.S. in order to "protect its and our future security," and in which the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is continued to save those countries from violence and "religious extremism." In short, he presents a picture of a world that does not exist in reality, in which truth is turned on its head. In Tony Blair's world there is no history and legacy of colonialism, no history of the peoples and resources of the Middle East being bartered and exchanged by Britain and the other big powers according to their own selfish interests. In this world there is no arbitrary removal of uncooperative regimes and imposing of reactionary ones, nor secret provision of military technology to the Israeli Zionists. For Blair there is no state terrorism of Israel, the Anglo-American alliance and the other big powers, only the threat of "reactionary Islam" and "global Islamist terrorism" that apparently feels threatened by the spread of "global values." Thus does Tony Blair attempt to justify the further intensification of the Anglo-U.S. agenda of the so-called "war against terror."

Of course, even Blair is forced to admit the reality of the Palestinian cause. But even here he presents the issue not as one concerning the rights of the Palestinian people, which have been trampled on by British governments for nearly 200 years, but rather that the problem is Hamas and "reactionary Islam" which has not only "provoked" Israel in Gaza but now in Lebanon too. It might be thought that according to this warped logic, Blair should be remonstrating with Israel not to be so "provoked," but he does not draw that conclusion. Instead, he goes out of his way to defend the actions of the war-mongering Zionist regime, and presents himself as the champion of democracy and modernization fighting against "reactionary religious extremism."

In his speech, Blair was also forced to admit that few in the world are convinced by his spurious arguments, since most people's thinking is based on their own experience of the real world. "Convincing our own opinion of the nature of the battle is hard enough," was the way he put it, adding that what is also required are means "to empower the moderates to defeat the extremists." For Blair this means increasing interference and intervention in the Middle East to establish the "arc of moderation and reconciliation." It means establishing regimes that accept the Eurocentric values of the Anglo-American alliance and the other big powers. It also means intervening in Palestine in order to establish what he referred to as a "viable Palestinian government," continuing the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and continuing to threaten Syria and Iran.

For Blair what is required, as he openly admits, is a Middle East and Islam that is "open to globalisation"; that accepts the values, dictate and hegemony of the Anglo-American alliance; that does not dare to resist nor take hold of its own destiny. Blair's speech highlights the fact that the Anglo-American alliance views the Middle East, or West Asia, as a key battleground that must be secured if it is to be in a position to dominate the whole of Asia in the future, and that views this global struggle as ideological as well as military and economic. Blair's speech highlights the dangerous path pursued in foreign policy by the British government, the fact that as recent events in Lebanon have again shown, the big powers will use any means to crush the resistance to their aims, turn truth on its head, and present any justification in order to advance and defend their interests.

* Workers' Daily is the on-line newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist).
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