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7th April 2011
Quite a lengthy interview of Tony Blair here on Denmark TV’s “Deadline”.
[For the start of the interview, click at the fourth vertical white line on the yellow bar below video, about 12 minutes into the video.]
“Evolution is better than revolution”
Amongst other considerations in the Middle East, notably regarding Iran, Tony Blair says that what happens is Egypt is far more important than what happens in Libya.
This is quite a gem –
“We applaud the people we like, we boo the people we don’t like”.
Asked what lessons there are to learned from “the mistakes of Iraq”, he says there’s one big lesson –
“The big lesson is this – that where you are engaged in intervention treating this region as broad as possible and in particular you have these profound forces within Islam, some of which are going to be very powerful – the radical elements – then you are going to be engaged in a wholly different order of change-making than a situation for example like Kosovo or in the Balkans. So one of the things that I think is very clear about this whole region is that because there is this unresolved issue within Islam which I talk about now a lot and think about a lot, it’s going to be a lot tougher”.
My dear friend John Rentoul mentions this interview amongst others in his post – “Libya is less like Iraq and more like Kosovo”.
Tony Blair, interviewed in Denmark, gives his clear view on the situation in Libya for the first time (in one short interview with The Times, pay wall, he spoke only of his phone calls to Colonel Gaddafi).*
What does he think about British military intervention in Libya?
I don’t think we’ve got an option.
Not intervening is also a decision, he says. That would mean we “sit back and let people be killed in large numbers”.
Is air power enough?
Libya is less like Iraq and more like Kosovo.
Blair knows better than anyone that air power was insufficient in Kosovo, and that it was only when Bill Clinton was persuaded to threaten the deployment of ground troops that Slobodan Milosevic yielded.
His interviewer (stylishly in shot in the mirror, reflected over Blair’s left shoulder) puts it to him that most people think Iraq was basically a failure. Is it?
We all know that, for Blair, this is number 565 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No. But he points out that this is true also for most of the people of Iraq.
There’s another interesting interview with him on another Danish programme, Deadline, here (starts 13 minutes in).
*Update: I forgot about Blair’s article for The Times and the Wall Street Journal on 19 March.
Not being a Times payer, I haven’t read the whole interview. But I’m left wondering in which ways exactly Mr Blair thinks Libya is more like Kosovo than Iraq.
Watch Tony Blair Office videos including “Africa Has The Potential To Be The Success Story Of The 21st Century”
Oh, by the way by the way (ref recent Rentoul tweet exchange)
A balanced article by The Telegraph’s Benedict Brogan – “David Cameron isn’t a winner and that’s where his problems begin”
I’ve been thinking exactly the same recently, watching a rolled-up shirt-sleeved (Blair-like) Cameron visiting a hospital, gesturing Blair-like hands a-square-angled, intervening (Blair-like) internationally when he told us not long ago he woudn’t.
Someone very close to me, a Tory, said to me the other day – “is there any politician apart from Tony Blair that you actually like?” I responded, “Yes, I quite like William Hague”. To which came a dismissive guffaw and something to the effect that “he’s the biggest plonker of the lot. Always putting his foot in it.”
Perhaps that’s why I quite like the Foreign Secretary with the smile in his voice. He tells it like it is.
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.
Tags: Benedict Brogan, David Cameron not a winner, Deadline Denmark, decision with consequences, Foreign Secretary, Iran, Iraq, John Rentoul, Kosovo, Libya, Middle East, Muammar al-Gaddafi, non-intervention, Nuclear weapon, Times, Tony Blair, Wall Street Journal, William Hague