Thursday, April 20, 2006

Britain Advocates the Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan is a Victory of Global Democracy

British Prime Minister Tony Blair articulated that the victory in Iraq and Afghanistan is vital to prevail democracy throughout the world, and defeat terrorism.

To begin with, let me review Prime Minister Blair’s speech at the Foreign Policy Centre, a New Labour think tank in London. In the speech, Tony Blair presents clear ideas why British and American endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary for global democracy. This is a must read to understand the war on terror. (See the video.)

While the majority of Western Europe sees American policy since 9-11 has been a gross overreaction, Blair refutes it a benign inactivity, sitting in the commentator’s seat. Furthermore, the Prime Minister endorses the Anglo-American presence, because Iraq and Afghanistan are facing historical turning point in their struggles for democracy. Tony Blair argues against anti-interventionists as follows.

“The easiest line for any politician seeking office in the West today is to attack American policy. A couple of weeks ago as I was addressing young Slovak students, one got up, denouncing US/UK policy in Iraq, fully bought in to the demonisation of the US, utterly oblivious to the fact that without the US and the liberation of his country, he would have been unable to ask such a question, let alone get an answer to it.”

Moreover, the Prime Minister extends lucid arguments against those who doubt partnership between Al Qaeda and Iran or Iraqi Baathists.

“True the conventional view is that, for example, Iran is hostile to Al Qaida and therefore would never support its activities. But as we know from our own history of conflict, under the pressure of battle, alliances shift and change. Fundamentally, for this ideology, we are the enemy.”

Tony Blair goes on to say “‘We’ is not the West. … but those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty and human rights administered by secular courts.” Most importantly, the Prime Minister mentions as below.

“[Terrorits] know that if they can succeed either in Iraq or Afghanistan or indeed in Lebanon or anywhere else wanting to go the democratic route, then the choice of a modern democratic future for the Arab or Muslim world is dealt a potentially mortal blow. Likewise if they fail, and those countries become democracies and make progress and, in the case of Iraq, prosper rapidly as it would; then not merely is that a blow against their whole value system; but it is the most effective message possible against their wretched propaganda about America, the West, the rest of the world.”

On his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Blair delivered a similar speech at the Parliament. As Britain and Australia are close partners in Iraq, this address is a reminder to the global community that how important a staunch alliance against terrorists is. (See the video.)

The Prime Minister reiterated the case for British mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“To win, we have to win the battle of values, as much as arms. We have to show these are not western still less American or Anglo-Saxon values but values in the common ownership of humanity, universal values that should be the right of the global citizen.”

Tony Blair articulates why a strong alliance lead by the United States is a must for world peace and prosperity as below.

“The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us, can be resolved or even contemplated without them. Our task is to ensure that with them, we do not limit the agenda to security. If our security lies in our values and our values are about justice and fairness as well as freedom from fear, then the agenda must be more than security and the alliance include more than America.”

Shortly after Prime Minister Blair’s tour to Australia, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq on April 3. This shock and impress diplomacy is nothing new. President Bush did it twice, for Iraq and Afghanistan. At the press conference in Baghdad, both secretaries demonstrated their firm commitment to defeat insurgents and eliminate the roots of terrorism in order to bring real democracy in Iraq. Also, both British and American Secretaries said they were in full respect of Iraqi sovereignty and willing to encourage current process to establish new government.

For further understanding of the Blair cabinet’s foreign policy, I would recommend you to read an article, “Think Again” in Foreign Policy, May 2005. According to James G. Forsyth, assistant editor of this journal, Blair is not Bush’s poodle. Blair offers public loyalty in exchange for private influence, but this strategy also requires that he not boast about the achievements. Without Tony Blair’s initiative, George W. Bush would not have requested second resolution at the United Nations on Iraq. Also, without British influence, the United States would not have joined European effort to engage Iran.

In addition, Forsyth says Tony Blair is a neo-conservative in foreign policy. Prime Minister advocates the grand project of commitment to make the world more democratic, and does not hesitate to use force if necessary. Like neoconservatives, Blair believes that nothing happens without American leadership. The Prime Minister pleads with America to stay involved in the world every chance he gets, and not to fall into isolationism. In his 2003 address to a joint session of congress, Blair explained why America must act: “Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time and the task is yours to do.” Bush’s wordsmiths couldn’t have put it better.

Prime Minister Blair’s speech is an invaluable reminder for the global community. Success in Iraq and Afghanistan will advance democracy and stability throughout the world. It is not servile to be the closest strategic partner to the United States. Rather, keep America engaged with world affairs. A neocon America is much more desirable than an isolationist America.

No other allies are more important than Tony Blair. A slight outsider, the Prime Minister can add more legitimacy to US leadership in the world. None of Secretaries in the Bush administration, from Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, to Donald Rumsfeld have this advantage. There is every reason that the Anglo-American alliance has been the anchor of world peace and stability. My fellow citizens in Europe and Japan, you need to understand this!

Shah Alex