(16b) Tony Blair: His final years as PM - Foreign policies gone wrong for many people


During his final years as PM, the 'war-on-terror' started (and still continues) whereby the attacks in New York and Washington were game-changers. Before this tragedy, there were interventions in wars such as in Kosovo and Sierra Leone that were celebrated by many but now PM Blair felt the need to start war to liberate people and remove dictators whereby there was the impression lies were told to justify war and to be important and this changed the mood of the people towards him. He also started to believe that police should be able to detain people for up to 90 days without charge while I think politicians should be able to trust judges so they can see evidence and can determine the length that people are locked up. Even torture was started to be used and although I understand this evolution as politicians tried to protect the general public after the attacks on the USA (09/11/2001) but also Madrid (11/03/2004 in which 191 people died) and London (07/07/2005 in which 52 people died one day after celebrating that multicultural London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games) while also the terrorists died. Unfortunately, the terrorists were getting what they wanted: a less open society for which the terrorists are the main responsible. Still, there were people who proposed suggestions to increase security without sacrificing freedom. And the move in the direction of more surveillance continues, even with others in power.

 

Afghanistan


Full praise for the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and joined by many countries. The Taliban, a government that supported a monstrous organisation (i.e. al-Qaida that killed thousands of innocent people in New York and Washington but also elsewhere in the world) and caused destruction (e.g. of centuries old monuments) and death in their own country. Indeed, many Western countries supported this war as the Taliban protected Osama bin-Laden, the brain behind the attacks on the USA. Since the invasion, women and men are freer to walk around with less risk of being sold as sex slaves or killed (e.g. stoned), although sometimes people died in accidents by the coalition or because they lived in a region where the Taliban continues to rule. No wonder the Taliban have to rape women as many women would refuse that children are born in such a violent region although other ordinary people (often men) are also guilty by still showing support for the Taliban against their protectors (= the West) and even breeding children so they can join the Taliban and al-Qaida as the latter two claim it should be done for Allah. Read the book or watch the film 'The Kite Runner' to understand some of the terror in that region over the past decades that may again intensify in the near future. Still, if that other war would not have been fought, more troops could have been deployed so the Taliban and al-Qaida may have been removed from this planet in that region. Now that the Western armies are leaving, some men want a return to the time before the West invaded. Unbelievable how certain people always choose suppression as long as the terror claims to be done in God's name. When the Western armies will be gone (except for a small group), it will be up to the people there to show they no longer accept oppression. In general, people should liberate themselves although many countries condemn people trying to do this as that brings instability to a region. But, liberating oneself from such violent men is almost impossible without using the same violence and becoming like them. (Similarly, some people claim life was better in Syria under Assad than today instead of remembering that he supported terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and gassed his own people; as a result the whole region has become violent as is the hope of terrorists). Nevertheless, if the West hadn't supported the mujaheddin rebels against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, we may not have had these troubles (but then, I don't know enough of that war to comment whether this was only ideological or because we protected the people against the violence of the Russians).

Iraq


And, although I was not in favour, I can even understand the 'other war', i.e. the invasion of Iraq, because this country had a president who killed his own people and started wars with his neighbours while he challenged the international community. Only because the first President Bush didn't make the logical decision during the first rightful invasion of Iraq (after the invasion by Iraq of its neighbour Kuwait) to move to the capital and capture Saddam Hussein, Hussein could remain in power for a few extra years, continuing his terror in the region. If President Bush Sr. had finished the job, the West would have been praised for removing a tyrant who invaded not only Kuwait but earlier also Iran (during which war the West supported Iraq) and gassed his own people and thus was responsible for the death of hundred of thousands, if not millions of people (was the first war stopped because until then Saddam was a good (oil) ally?).

I was never a fan of the second invasion because UN inspectors were in the country who didn't find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) but I understand Mr Blair when he claims he wanted to stop Hussein from killing even more people by being a treat to other countries (Hussein could have proven he was not a treat by not obstructing UN inspections) while the West already provided protection for the Kurds. PM Blair, together with the US, took a decision to destroy a monster although he and President Bush refused to listen to people who warned them about the possible collapse of society after the war. Still, the collapse is not only the fault of the West but also of many Iraqis as they could have celebrated the destruction of Saddam instead of starting to fight each other (although those who supported Saddam tried to revenge his fall) while the hate for the West by some Iraqis is so much larger than their hate for Saddam and thus, as many Iraqis didn't ask to be liberated, they opposed us. But often the collapse of a totalitarian regime results in civil war as we see in a number of countries before peace can return as many want to be the saviour of their country and thus use violence to become its leader while people are forced to choose side and thus become the enemy of the others. In addition, just like Saddam, we still want to keep the country together and thus probably need a dictator in such a complex country; a better solution may have been to split the country according to ethnic division (Kurds, Sunni and Shia), not old internal artificial borders. Nevertheless, those claiming Saddam Hussein should still be president of Iraq don't have my sympathy as he was a monster. And that is sometimes a problem with 'peace-loving' people: they blame the West for not intervening and for protecting murderous dictators (claiming we want the oil) while they blame the West if we intervene to remove dictators (claiming we want the oil) while some leaders may indeed intervene because they really want to stop a tyrant (of course, some may have decided Saddam was no longer needed as he opposed the West too much).

Still, the main reason why I was not in favour of this war was because he used Iraq to divide Europe in 'Old and New' and did not allow any critical thinking by other countries. He discussed the war first with US President George W. Bush (Jr.) and then assumed Europe would simply bow to his orders while, as a member of the EU, he should first have discussed his ideas within Europe and then find common ground. It shows he is British: The UK is right and so is the part of Europe that agrees with us while the others are traitors. But many countries were against because UN inspectors were still investigating the WMD claim. Indeed, by only discussing the possibility of war in Iraq he showed he wanted to be part of the world of the powerful who take decisions about others without thinking of any consequences. Not all evidence in favour of war were shown while UN inspectors in Iraq suggested there were no WMD and thus people, including politicians, had the impression lies were fabricated to be able to start a war. If he really likes to be important in world politics, than he should go for an international job (as he has at this moment) but certainly be prepared to accept to listen to everyone and not only to those who share his opinion while he should be more willing to share all evidence available or he will reach little except opposition. Mr Blair divided and almost considered countries that didn't agree with him as enemies and on the side of Saddam while he should have tried to unite so other countries would help, even if only by providing logistics.

Libya


As already mentioned in the first part, at the end of his premiership PM Blair started to behave odd as he started to befriend the obvious wrong people such as Colonel Gaddafi. Indeed, sometimes one should give a person a second chance if that can improve a situation although someone who clings onto power so others don't get a chance should not be trusted. But, a person who caused so much misery for so many people can't be given a second chance. And his reaction towards the troubles during Gaddafi's final year in power and before he was killed demonstrated he was mad. It can be asked why PM Blair didn't try to remove the colonel from his position as he did with Saddam but instead shook his hand. But as a commentator from the 'The Spectator', a mainly conservative magazine now even acknowledges, it was probably about the oil. As the left claimed it, the commentator admits he refused to believe it until he was forced to accept the madness of Colonel Gaddafi as well as our madness to accept him in return for oil. That is indeed a problem with many: because the 'left' (or even sometimes 'right') mention something, therefore it should be wrong while we should no longer think in terms of 'right' or 'left' but investigate the evidence and then come to a conclusion. This was also the problem during Hitler's time: some people spoke about concentration camps but they couldn't be trusted as considered on the wrong side. Nevertheless, many blame him for removing a dictator while they could equally blame him for keeping a dictator in power. Still, his actions started to give the impression he started to choose the wrong side and that he no longer defended the weak as he ones did.

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Indeed, many people oppose Mr Blair for the war in Iraq. But even without invasion, there probably would have been a revolution one day to get rid of Saddam although I agree, then it would have been the decision of Iraqis to fight Saddam and not our decision to remove him. Still, some people can never imagine the West can do good and as a result even distrust any well-meaning politicians, thus opposing every solution to remove dictators. For instance, I'm in favour of destroying Isis as that is simply an evil group that murders civilians but equally for getting rid of Assad; the situation here is easier as many people ask us for our help. Similarly, I am in favour of getting rid of Boko Haram, a Nigerian group killing and kidnapping people and using women and girls as sex slaves, equal to Isis and the Taliban in its terror. Armies should defend people, not oppress them, and then we thank the soldiers risking their lives for our freedom. Indeed, we have an unfair policy in the Middle East, choosing side based on guilt for what previous generations did to Jews or to get cheap oil and as a result, create troubles for others. Because of certain actions by PM Blair, people no longer trust him.
If we only could live in the now and future so our decisions could be fairer although with the help of the past to avoid us making the same mistakes in similar situations while this is difficult to achieve as there are many people who remember the past and often use it to justify revenge.

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