Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned western nations Wednesday that the threat of violent Islam is spreading “across the world” and the West must take sides once and for all to face it down.
In a speech that echoed George Bush in the months after the 9/11 attacks – and in some ways even Winston Churchill’s warnings from the dark days leading up to World War II — Blair said western democracies have no choice about confronting Islamic terrorism, according to the Guardian.
“I completely understand why our people feel they have done enough, more than enough. And when they read of those we have tried to help spurning our help, criticizing us, even trying to kill us, they’re entitled to feel aggrieved and to say: we’re out.”
But weariness of conflict, he said, is not an option.
“The important point for Western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn’t just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support. It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved; where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilized, organized and helped.
“But what is absolutely necessary is that we first liberate ourselves from our own attitude. We have to take sides. We have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time. We have to have an approach to the region that is coherent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to commit. We have to engage”
When putative leader of what used to be called the Free World is an American president who thinks the idea of commitment and engagement is “leading from behind,” it’s more than a little embarrassing to have to hear those kinds of words coming from the former leader of a country that has only a fraction of the power of the United States.
It’s even more embarrassing that it’s coming from a leader whose own people have even less moral fiber than American liberals when it comes to facing up to reality. (Current Prime Minister David Cameron is still taking heat for an Anglican publication called the Church Times in which he described Britain as a “Christian country.”)
But then, Blair’s a former British prime minister, and the Obama administration has been thumbing its nose at its closest global ally since the day Winston Churchill’s bust was unceremoniously shipped out of the White House when President Obama took over.
What did Churchill know, anyway?
Check out part of Blair’s speech here:
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