Thursday, March 09, 2006

OLIVER KAMM ON TONY BLAIR

Every now and then Oliver Kamm hits the spot with unnerving accuracy. Although essentially a rehash of work from his "Anti-Totalitarianism" book, his "Freedom Fighter" essay is a fine example:
The late Robin Cook wrote that ‘the judgement of history may be that the invasion of Iraq has been the biggest blunder in British foreign and security policy in the half century since Suez.’ Many – perhaps most – Labour supporters would share Cook’s scepticism about the merits of the war. But his implication that Iraq was an aberration in Tony Blair’s foreign policy was clearly mistaken. The overthrow of theocratic despotism in Afghanistan and Ba’athist tyranny in Iraq is central to Blair’s record. It is part of a distinctive approach that has marked his premiership. That stance represents continuity with the principles of an earlier anti-totalitarian left, and a shrewd strategic judgement of where Britain’s security interests lie in the early 21st century. It is, moreover, sharply at odds with the philosophy and practice of John Major’s government.

It was understandable that, during the general election campaign, Blair tried to shift debate from an unpopular war towards domestic issues, but it makes no sense in the long run to allow the cause of regime change to go by default. The foreign policy of Blair is more than Iraq, but Iraq is how history will judge him, and supporters of the prime minister need to make the case for regime change.
Get stuck in.

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