Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Blair's Speech on Islamism: On the Reaction.

The response to Blair's speech consists of the usual dreary political bores and hack journalists trying to muscle in so as to gain credibility from lauding it as either sage wisdom and a fundamental moral stance or else as the utterings of an evil demonic warmongerer.

On the pro-Blair side, Denis McShane is wholly mendacious when he claims 'Just read Blair speech. Ignore headlines. This is Fulton Mark 2. Bien pensant left then refused to challenge Stalinism. Orwell knew better'. Well, if it's read correctly, the speech is clearly Orwellian in the negative sense.

For example, Blair refers to 'extremist Islamism' when he supports the Egyptian military government's coup against the Muslim Brotherhood and omits to mention the way it massacred protesters in the streets of Cairo. At the same time he refers to the Islamists opposing Assad in Syria as 'Opposition'.

The use of euphemism and clipped soundbite statements makes what was a bloody coup sound as though part of a mere political transition, with no mention of the killings, arbitrary imprisonments, use of torture; that is, the actual reality of events in Egypt in August 2013 to the present.
'The revolt of 30 June 2013 was not an ordinary protest. It was the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation. We should support the new Government and help. None of this means that where there are things we disagree strongly with – such as the death sentence on the 500 – that we do not speak out'.
The use of two negatives in one sentence is used to insinuate that Western governments have, in fact, spoken out about the political murders carried out by a government backed by western governments when the US and EU have refused even to call the coup in Egypt a coup.

Orwell defined doublethink in 1984 as 'Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them'. In Blair's case, Islamism is 'extreme' when it threatens western backed regimes but Opposition needing support when that benefits power interests.

In Syria, Blair makes it clear that even if people are aware the enemies of Assad contain a lot of the vicious jihadists that would be opposed as part of a global force for evil if theyy were not fighting on the side dedicated to removing an ally of Iran and Lebanon's Hizbollah.
'We are now in a position where both Assad staying and the Opposition taking over seem bad options. The former is responsible for creating this situation. But the truth is that there are so many fissures and problems around elements within the Opposition that people are rightly wary now of any solution that is an outright victory for either side'
This entire paragraph is written with lots of abstract nouns in a deliberately vague way so as to obscure the fact that the 'extreme Islamists' Blair sees as a global menace elsewhere are an important part of the armed insurgency at war with Assad's forces in Syria.

As a consequence, Blair calls for an agreement with Assad that would 'see him stay on for a period', after which he would be called on to go, as if that would somehow solve the Syrian civil war and that the entire conflict hinges on the malign will of one leader.
'Should even this not be acceptable to him, we should consider active measures to help the Opposition and force him to the negotiating table, including no fly zones whilst making it clear that the extremist groups should receive no support from any of the surrounding nations'.
Note again, the abstract language that concentrates on what western powers can do to get rid of Assad and only adds in the essential fact later that jihadists in Syria are part of the Opposition and are backed by Turkey ( a NATO power ), Qatar, a major Gulf ally and investor in London, and Saudi Arabia.

To grasp the very dangerous nature of global power politics and the race to control resources, of which the Second Iraq war was a prime example, requires understanding first if the sort of insane geopolitical agenda and propaganda deployed by Blair can stand any chance of being opposed.

For just as preposterous are those posing as 'anti-war' and principled by drawing attention to Blair's hypocrisy instead of to the fundamental reality behind the reason why Blair supports the Egyptian military against the Muslim Brotherhood and, like the rest of the political class, Islamists against Assad in Syria.

That reason is clearly oil and gas for reasons spelt out by Blair himself,
 'the Middle East remains of central is still where a large part of the world’s energy supplies are generated, and whatever the long term implications of the USA energy revolution, the world’s dependence on the Middle East is not going to disappear any time soon. In any event, it has a determining effect on the price of oil; and thus on the stability and working of the global economy'.
 However, George Galloway, the Bradford MP for RESPECT, claims via Twitter,
'Under pressure @TheBlairDoc the war criminal Tony Blair has finally lost it. And in the heart of "the City" for which he sacrificed us all'.
The fact that Blair chose to give the speech in London in Bloomberg's HQ hardly amounts to evidence that Blair invaded Iraq to benefit the City or financial interests. That could sit well with those keen on conpiracy theories and who watch his shows on Iran's Press TV but it's a mendacious claim.

Ben White calls for protest against Blair,,
'After yet another much publicised op-ed by a man who should be scribbling his musings in a prison cell, it is time we sent a message to Tony Blair. A petition is, perhaps, a strange choice of protest form given Blair's track record in laughing off popular opinion. But at the very least, it will remind him that for every corporation and foreign government willing to top up his bank account, there are many more people wishing he would simply Shut Up and Go Away'.
Until Blair is put in a prison cell or formally indicted as a war criminal, Blair is not going to go away and he simply is not going to care what a group of nonentities think or write on a petition calling on him never to speak in public again. Britain has free speech and is a democracy. He can say what he likes.

Few on the 'anti-war' left or those protesting against Blair really want him to shut up as they enjoy the sensation of outrage, wearing bloodied Blair masks, yelling 'Bliar' and feeling themselves morally superior to Him ( as if this somehow needed continual in group affirmation ).

Such protests ignore the fact that Blair joined the US invasion in 2003 so as to guarantee Britain's energy security, to safeguard the supply of cheap and plentiful oil that underpins the high octane consumer society many protesters and most British citizens enjoy.

The conversion of Blair into a sort of Emmanuel Goldstein figure is a convenient one that diverts attention away from the fact that the political class backed the war in Iraq or that the interest Britain has in the Middle East is closely bound up with energy interests and investment in the UK economy.

The most important thing to recognise if Britain is going to repudiate the sort of politics represented by Blair is that it needs to aim at energy independence and not to depend so much on states such as Qatar for liquified natural gas and petrodollars to boost London's property market.

Even so, the easy explanation for Blair's involvement in Iraq or calls for intervention ( 'it's all about profit for corporations and the super rich' etc ) are so stupid that they play into the hands of those such as Blair who can laugh off that form of 'public opinion' as mere 'conspiracy theorising'.

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