Speaking up for Blair
As speculation continues over Blair's departure date, the one group of people who continue to speak up for him are conservative commentators. Gerard Baker has an article in the Weekly Standard. Entitled "Britain's first and last 'New Labour' Prime Minister", the article states that whatever you think of Blair's domestic politics, the thing he will be most remembered for is his ucompromising stand on Iraq and Islamism. Here is an excerpt of of Blair's recent speech in Australia:
"People look back on the three years since the Iraq conflict; they point to the precarious nature of Iraq today and to those who have died--mainly in terrorist acts--and they say: How can it have been worth it? But there is a different question to ask: Why is it so important to the forces of reaction and violence to halt Iraq in its democratic tracks and tip it into sectarian war? Why do foreign terrorists from al Qaeda and its associates go across theborder to kill and maim? Why does Syria not take stronger action to prevent them? Why does Iran meddle so furiously in the stability of Iraq?"
And in explaining the bigger threat from Islamism, he went on to say:
"Fundamentally, for this ideology, we are the enemy. . . . "We" is not the West. "We" are as much Muslim as Christian or Jew or Hindu. "We" are those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty, and human rights administered by secular courts. This is not a clash between civilizations. It is a clash about civilization".
Blair may have got a lot of things wrong, but when it came to Islamism, Blair articulated more than any other Western leader the threat that we face. Unlike most of his party (and some Tories) who see Bush as the main threat to the Western world, he was prepared to call a spade a spade.