"People sometimes say to me, no, it's not really Iraq, it's Afghanistan," Blair says. "Someone else will say, no it's Pakistan, and someone else will say it's Iraq, and someone else will say it's Yemen. But actually it's all of these because in different ways, they represent different challenges that are unified by one single movement with a single ideology. And this is going to be resolved, in my view, over a long period of time. But what is important is that wherever it is fighting us, we're prepared to fight back. And actually if you take the situation, for example, in Iraq, what began as a fight to remove Saddam was over in two months but then what occupied us for the next six years was fighting external elements - Al-Qaida on one hand, Iranian-backed militias on the other, which are the same elements we're fighting everywhere. Now, ultimately we've got to understand that, unfortunately, we can't say: 'Look, let's concentrate it here, but not here, and here, and here,' because that's not the way this thing's working."How unpopular. How refreshing.
Blair's equation doesn't end there. "Actually there is a unifying theme, in my view, between what's happened in countries like our own country with terrorist activity, and what's happening in places like Yemen or Afghanistan or Somalia or, I'm afraid, other countries. The key to understanding this is [that] this is a global movement with a global ideology and it is one struggle. It's one struggle with many different arenas."
Friday, January 8, 2010
Unpopular Contrarian, Probably Right
Decades from now, I expect reasonable historians will see Tony Blair as a mostly positive figure. He understands the fundamental dynamics of our age, and tries to do the best he can even though his voters disagree, and his former voters hate him for it. Haaretz has a long interview with him: