Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tony Blair and Global Values

British Prime Minister Tony Blair published an article in January/February 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine. The title of his article is A Battle for Global Values.

The summary reads: “The war on terrorism is not just about security or military tactics. It is a battle of values, and one that can only be won by the triumph of tolerance and liberty. Afghanistan and Iraq have been the necessary starting points of this battle. Success there, however, must be coupled with a bolder, more consistent, and more thorough application of global values, with Washington leading the way.”

Blair talks about values – global and western - in that lengthy article but fails to explain what those values are.

Now, let me point out a few items in that “values” article, by avoiding as much as possible cherry picking.

Mr. Blair claims that “the roots of the current wave of global terrorism and extremism….reach down through decades of alienation, victimhood, and political oppression in the Arab and Muslim world.” And the battle against that can be won “only by showing that our values are stronger, better, and more just than the alternative.”

He further argues that the enemy of those terrorists and extremists are “all those who believe in religious tolerance, in openness to others, in democracy, in liberty, and in human rights administered by secular courts.“

What should we understand here? Imposing freedom, liberty and democracy by blood as the world has witnessed throughout the history are your values? Please Mr. Blair, be honest (even though honesty is not in general a virtue of politicians) and take a pen, a sheet of paper and a history book with a map inside. Start with slavery and colonization. If that is too much work, then just jump to the 20th century and note how many democracies were put off, how many countriues were destroyed, how many countries were pushed into poverty by the governments that share your “values.”

We (including myself) the people belonging to lower middle and low income class living in developing countries can be naïve but surely not stupid. Tell that to all those people who suffered from your “values.”

In fact, it would be extremely difficult to find a living creature living in this planet who would oppose tolerance, openness, democracy, liberty and human rights. Add to those at least respect, dignity, and honesty.

Mr. Blair claims that the clash between the two groups is “not a clash between civilizations,” but “is a clash about civilization.” Because “the terrorists base their ideology on religious extremism -- and not just any religious extremism, but a specifically Muslim version.” And they “do not want Muslim countries to modernize.”

He continues by pointing out that “it is the extremists, not us, who are slaughtering the innocent and doing it deliberately.”

But he somehow does not mention at all that it was them (the ones with “values”) who have been supporting the extremists. Who was supporting Taliban against Soviets? Wasn’t ben Laden your operative? Aren’t you providing arms to those suppressive regimes, with bribes? Isn’t that you who suck all the natural resources of poor countries by corrupting (more) their rulers and blame resource curse? Give us a break!

When talking about “interventions” in Iraq and Afghanistan he states that “the crucial point about these interventions is that they were not just about changing regimes but about changing the value systems governing the nations concerned.“

He further mentions that the actual battle now is for hearts and minds. And the West needs “to construct a global alliance for these global values and act through it.” Yes, killing more 700,000 people and still counting.

But Blair suddenly realizes the commitments of those supposedly “value” having nations to global values: “If we believe in justice, how can we let 30,000 children a day die when those deaths could be prevented? If we believe in our responsibility to the generations that come after us, how can we be indifferent to the degradation of the planet? How can we have a global trading system based on unfair trade? How can we bring peace to the Middle East unless we resolve the question of Israel and Palestine?” What can anybody say, besides, Bravo Blair. I think those lines were put by someone else, and didn’t belong to the article. Because, they contradicts too much with the whole.

Then he claims that “the world wants” the US “engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us can be resolved or even approached without it.” Yes, let them take unilateral decisions, invade countries and then turn to the UN and international community to clean up the mess they created.

Dear Mr. Blair, there are 224 countries listed in the UN. Can you please count the countries that would justify your claim? In fact, this kind of groundless arguments once more demonstrate that the use of word “world” hides behind the western elite, super powers, greed, neo-colonial corporate powers and alike.

Mr. Blair finishes with: “this struggle is one about values. Our values are our guide. They represent humanity's progress throughout the ages. At each point we have had to fight for them and defend them. As a new age beckons, it is time to fight for them again.”

Much more things to add but I am simply disgusted and will stop here. Last words to the ones who have those undefined “values” Mr. Blair talks as “we”: Do what you say, don’t do what you do, and read less Ralph Peters (on whom I will write some time later).

Stop this my values, your values; my country, your country; my religion, my interests, your interests kinds of discussions and simply give value to human, nature and planet we are living in! We all have screwed up majority of past and current generation, at least give hope for the future ones.

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