'Many voters stopped listening to Mr Blair because of the Iraq war. For some, he no longer has standing at all; for others, although they may approve of his views on Europe, his standing remains overshadowed by Iraq...' ( Tony Blair, Standing Room Only, Guardian, June 3 2014 )It's actually important to listen to Blair because every time he stries to 'take a stance' on foreign policy he is trying to get people to see his decision to launch a pre-emptive war against Iraq as a visionary one that attempted to propel the Middle East through a historical transition towards democracy.
In that sense, Blair has continually tried to stake out the position that had the US and Britain not invaded Iraq then Saddam's state would have fallen anyway, as it has in neighbouring Syria, with far more bloodshed. It's always interesting to see how obsessive Blair is about safeguarding his legacy.
Contrary to what some claim, Blair is not a sociopath but he's a man with a conscience who needs people to keep the faith with him and to believe that the decision he took to invade Iraq shall be justified in the larger historical scheme of things.
That does not mean Blair is a "tragic" figure as the novelist Robert Harris claimed yesterday. Narcissistic and with a messiah complex, Blair might well be flattered by that description; he seems to be heavily influenced by the fate of Trotsky as outlined in Isaac Deutscher's Prophet Trilogy.
Blair now fancies himself as 'The Prophet Outcast' warning of the steady and sinister approach of a global Islamist threat looming ominously upon the horizon and which statesmen are ignoring, as they did in 'appeasing fascism' in the 1930s. That was the thrust of his Bloomberg Speech.
To a certain extent the influence of Trotsky is genuine. Blair believed that a revolutionary foreign policy, using force as the midwife of history, could bring about an ineluctable spread of liberal democracy in the Middle East, a process yet still emerging from out of the current chaos and carnage.
The fact is that no such order has emerged on a durable basis in Iraq and that neighbouring states, such as Syria, have collapsed into civil war and bloodshed without any prospect of peace. Blair has to try to see this as the birth pangs of a new order otherwise he and his 'moral cause' is lost.