Tue Oct 13th, 2009 at 08:04:34 PM EST
Jerome recently linked to a piece by one Peter Campbell. I didn't bother to read the article itself, but in the comment thread, I found a rather concise summary of the pro-Blair talking points.
Since I love the smell of freshly mowed astroturf in the morning, and since it's technically morning in my time zone right now, I'll cross-post my fisking here.
1. Tony Blair is a well-respected international politician,
Except in Germany, BeNeLux, Greece, Sweden, and three or four other EU countries. And that's only if you count the heads of state. If you count popular opinion, as expressed in numerous opinion polls, you can add France and Spain to the list as well.
Not to mention Russia, China and India. The latter two will undoubtedly look with particular goodwill upon a politician who expressed his admiration for the British East India Company and the Opium Wars...
Blair has an unmatchable “recognition” factor
Mostly gained by demanding a British opt-out from human rights, expressing his pride in the British Empire, selling peerages to the highest bidder, driving one of his critics to suicide and sitting on his hands while the North Sea oil and gas peaked (and then blaming France and Russia for his own administration's stupidity and lack of foresight). Oh, and launching three or four different patently illegal wars.
But I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity...
AND [sic] a history of understanding complex relationships.
Such as ethnic tensions in post-invasion Iraq, the former Yugoslavia and Central Asia. Oh, and his handling of Russia has been absolutely excellent too.
Assuming, of course, that by "absolutely excellent" you mean "needlessly and uselessly antagonising Europe's most important trading partner in strategic raw materials."
2. Blair has a wide understanding of every continent’s worries and issues.
He can even tell you where Gori is on a map. Can't tell you a straight story on how many times the Russians supposedly invaded it, though... (Hint: They never actually did.)
And it's not like his "infirm touch" approach to banking regulation and do-nothing policy on strategic infrastructure turned the UK into a third-world country. Nope, nothing to see there.
He has started several high-powered projects since leaving office just over two years ago, including a climate group
And of course he's been impeccably consistent in his support for climate change - to the point where Britain by the end of his tenure had the lowest wind energy penetration of any country bordering the North Sea... despite having the greatest per capita wind resource of any European country.
Maybe someone should send him a memo that "action on climate change" is usually taken to mean "action that aims to prevent climate change."
3. Europe MUST raise its profile in the western world.
And if you had bothered to read the actual treaties, you would have known that this is the High Representative's job, not the Council chairman's job.
Oh, and in case you were wondering why the EU foreign minister is called something as obscure as "High Representative" - well, that was at the insistence of a British PM called Tony Blair, who wanted to neuter Bruxelles' ability to raise Europe's profile in the world.
Americans cannot and will no longer be expected to carry the can for all major worldwide concerns. The last time they did that on an important issue, international terror, many turned on them.
I'll have Revisionist History for 1000, Alex.
Support for the American Global War on Terror was unanimous. Until they started abducting people, insulting their allies, torturing people, running death squads, shooting at European journalists and using terrorism as an excuse for the same old Cold War encirclement rubbish in Central Asia. Then support kinda cooled.
Took three or four years, though, which shows an impressive amount of patience, considering the bald-faced insanity emanating from Washington in the early noughties.
Oh, and since when did "international terror" become an important issue? More people are killed every month by car drivers than are killed every full decade by terrorists. Simply moving all morning commutes between major cities and their suburbs off the road and onto the railway would save more lives than any conceivable terror law. But I guess it wouldn't play as well with the Daily Mail and their BNP segment...
Americans need a strong EU and the EU needs to support America.
Because obviously European and American interests are always coterminous. Europe couldn't possibly have different security and commercial interests in Central Asia, the Mediterranean and the Near East than America.
4. Blair’s history in settling the Northern Ireland conflict (yes, it was Blair who signed it off, not John Major) makes him uniquely qualified to help negotiate peace in the Middle East, if given sufficient authority.
Which is obviously the reason that he has accomplished precisely nothing in the two years that he's spent there since handing over a failed state to Gordon Brown...