Friday, August 11, 2006

Blair’s Dilemma of Future Foreign Policy

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s speech to the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles was full of rhetoric and historical errors. He failed to address the issue of forming a coherent foreign policy in his wide-ranging speech. Surprisingly, he talked about the political and economic demise of the West. He also echoed the clash of civilisations, while asserting that the Western values were superior, hence, these values should be imposed on the Muslims. The focus of his speech was on the ways to suppress anti-imperialist sentiments and desire for true democracy among the Muslims.

Blair conceded setbacks in the “battle against global extremism” and said, “the US has suffered heavy losses ... in Iraq and in Afghanistan.” Interestingly, he did not mention “war on terror” and wished to defeat “reactionary Islam” before the political and economic demise of the West. Blair appeared to be in a dispute with the American President, George Bush and neo-conservatives, who preferred a hawkish response.

Blair’s dilemma is about achieving strategic goals without putting the prestige and resources of the West on the line. In fact, Blair has conceded a setback by showing “willingness to negotiate or compromise”. He tried to conceal his weakness by using tough language and sounded like a politician delivering a concession speech after a landslide electoral defeat.

Blair said, “The purpose of terrorism - whether in Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Palestine is never just the terrorist act itself. It is to use the act to trigger a chain reaction, to expunge any willingness to negotiate or compromise. Unfortunately it frequently works, as we know from our own experience in Northern Ireland, though thankfully the huge progress made in the last decade there, shows that it can also be overcome.”

Apparently, he used abstract language to convey message to aggrieved parties. Moreover, he showed the “willingness to negotiate or compromise” without mentioning any party, while using Northern Ireland as an example. Who he wants to negotiate with and what issues he likes to compromise on? However, it seems that his “willingness to negotiate or compromise” is too little, too late. He should have courage to show his cards and come clean on this issue.

Blair predicted the demise of the West and said, “the future in which Europe and the US will no longer, economically or politically, be transcendent.” The West will not be a major player in the world affairs due to the rise of China, India, and other Asian countries. This will happen partly because of the aging population in the West and transfer of jobs to Asian economies. This raises an important question about the maximum limit of time left for the West to enforce its will on the Muslims. “Within 20 or 30 years” China and India will emerge as major powers according to Blair. The West does not has much time left to implement its will on the Muslims.

Blair made a huge assumption that the Muslims around the world have short memory and that somehow using fanciful language can fool them. His speech was full of contradiction and historical errors. He vigorously defended the Israeli policy in the Middle East. He also praised the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was responsible for Sabra and Shatila massacre in which thousands of civilians were killed in Lebanon in 1982.

Because of their brutal policies, USA and UK suffered heavy losses in many parts of the world such as the Middle East and Afghanistan. The West in general and USA in particular, were under the impression that they could impose the “New World Order” without any opposition, after the end of the Cold War. However, it is impossible to take control of the world’s affairs due to its dynamic nature. The West comes to grips with the reality due to the resistance presented by the Muslims and the rest of the world against its unilateralism.

The focal point of Blair’s speech was the “changing the values systems” in the Muslim countries and to convince the Muslims to adopt the Western values. He echoed the controversial theory of the “Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel P. Huntington by saying that “our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair”. However, it is obvious that most of the Western policies are unjust and brutal. Is Blair trying to defend the Western policies of neo-imperialism and Islamophobia?

The claim about the superiority of the Western values can be tested by looking at the economic, political, and social conditions of the minorities in the West. It is evident that minorities in the Western countries are in a dire situation. The existence of ghettoes in the Western cities is a living example of these policies. These ghettoes are full of non-white minorities such as Arabs, Africans, and Asians. They have high levels of unemployment, low-income and low-literacy rates. Does Blair want to promote these policies in the Muslim countries?

The West has successfully suppressed non-white communities currently living in the Western countries. It has also tried to do this to the rest of the world as well, regardless whether they are Muslims or Non-Muslims. Due to these policies, suppressed countries regardless of their colour and religion are united against the West. Because it wants to suppress any country, which dares to disagree, North Korea and Cuba are good examples. The West tries crude ways of aggression and war if it cannot control the situation by suppression. The killing of millions of civilians in Vietnam and spraying of chemical orange is a vivid reminder of this brutal policy.

Blair also talked about promoting “democracy” in the Muslim countries. However, by looking at the history, it is obvious that the West has played an active role in suppressing people around the world by supporting dictators such as Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Ferdinand Marcos, and Augusto Pinochet. Nowadays, most of the dictators in the Middle East are regarded as close allies of the West because they are ensuring unrestricted supply of oil to the Western countries.

The West has always championed the cause of the democracy. Nevertheless, it has refused to accept the democratic verdict of Palestinians to elect Hamas as a governing party. The West put economic pressure on the Palestinians to accept its will. However, Palestinians refused to budge and as a result a go ahead was given to Israel to attack the Palestine and reoccupy parts of Gaza strip. This is not the only time when the West rejected a democratic verdict. Islamic Salvation Front won the elections in Algeria in 1991 but the military cancelled second round of the elections and Islamic Salvation Front was banned, however, the West did not take any action in support of the democracy in Algeria. The West accepts the democratic verdict of the people only if pro-Western parties are elected.

It clearly shows that the Western values are not just and fair in case of the Muslims. It is obvious that the West has very limited room for manoeuvring under current geopolitical conditions. What options are available to the West to implement its agenda? It can go on a confrontational path and invade countries like Iran and Syria. But, the question is whether it is worthwhile to go for an invasion. The other issue is, how much it will cost in terms of money and human life. Is the Western population willing to go for a war and sacrifice?

If the West goes for a war to implement its will on the Muslims then it will become weaker due to huge costs involved. If it does not go for a war and try to maintain the status quo then it will be bogged down into current conflict until its eventual demise. The chances are that the status quo will hasten its demise.

Therefore, the only feasible option for the West is to learn to co-exist and resolve grievances of the Muslims as soon as possible to slow down its eventual demise.

The West got a very ambitious agenda, which it was unable to implement during centuries of colonization. What makes it think that it can be implemented now? Perhaps, the thought of the ultimate demise has triggered the desire to impose its old agenda.


  • Hey Good Work!
    "The West agenda,[see PNAC! same crap!] which it was unable to implement during centuries of colonization. What makes it think that it can be implemented now? Perhaps, the thought of the ultimate demise has triggered the desire to impose its old agenda"
    Succinctly: threatened fable-believers succumb to Fundamentalism. Too much proof of that with USians.

    By Blogger wtchoax, at Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:44:00 PM  

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