Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tony Blair's vision of a world order

Some excerpts from Tony Blair's speech at Georgetown University on 26 May.

On Iraq, change, terrorism, Iran and a JFK moment.

This is a child of democracy struggling to be born. They and we, the international community, are the midwives.
You may not agree with original decision.
You may believe mistakes have been made.
You may even think how can it be worth the sacrifice.
But surely we must all accept this is a genuine attempt to run the race of liberty.
These are not stooges. Or placemen.
They believe in their country.
They believe in its capacity to be democratic.
They are fighting a struggle against the odds but they are fighting it.
And in their struggle is a symbol of a wider struggle.
Listen to what the new Prime Minister says and the new Government's programme.
Tell me where their vision differs from ours except that ours is based in experience and theirs in hope.

No amount of institutional change will ever work unless the most powerful make it work. ... That is the reality of power; size; economic, military, political weight.

The answer to terrorism is the universal application of global values. The answer to poverty is the same. Without progress - in democracy and in prosperity - security is at risk. Without security, progress falters.

There was a moving moment when I was talking to the new Prime Minister in his office in Baghdad that he told me, with a smile, used to be the dining room of one of Saddam's sons. We were on our own with the interpreter. He leant across to me and said: "if we can change Iraq we can change this region and the world".

I don't believe we will be secure unless Iran changes. I emphasise I am not saying, we should impose change. I am simply saying the greater freedom and democracy which, I have no doubt, most Iranians want, is something we need. There is a choice being played out in the region: to be partners with the wider world; or to be defined in opposition to it. If Iran leads the latter camp, the results will be felt by us all.

But country by country, in every way we can, with every means we can properly deploy, the international community should be the champions of those who want change there. And wherever those who strive for that freedom are in danger, we should be at their side.
Norm is bullish
if the UN therefore fails to intervene effectively in 'conscience-shocking situations', then 'concerned states may not rule out other means to meet the gravity and urgency' of these situations.
Martin Kettle thinks Blair's fight is already lost, that the US is going to retreat a little into its shell to the detriment of all.
Just as American foreign policy spent a quarter of a century in the grip of a Vietnam syndrome - that no intervention was worth the cost in American lives sustained in south-east Asia - so now it must face the reality of an equivalent Iraq syndrome: that no intervention is worth the cost in prestige and danger that the war in the Gulf has brought.
It is indeed difficult to see a United Nations doing the job that Blair lays out for it. More likely, I fear, is a stalemate with the US unwilling to act, the UN unable, and the rest whining about both.

(via Norm)

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