Fudging the Lessons of History

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Ikram Sehgal
Speaking on September 6 at the British security think tank, Royal United Security Institute (RUSI), Tony Blair confirmed that not only (1) has he not learnt any lessons from history, but (2) wishes to stick to his old policy of denying established fact and substituting them with what he is universally known for blending outright lies with half-truths. Remember the lies with which he lured the UK into the Iraq war?
Keeping with the post-WW II role of Great Britain as “Washington’s poodle,” (Blair himself is widely called “Bush’s poodle”), he slavishly supported the Bush administration’s policy of regime change. Blair ensured the British Armed Forces’ participation in the Afghanistan war and, even more, controversial 2003’s invasion of Iraq. Despite clear knowledge based on unambiguous intelligence reports, he dishonestly argued otherwise-that the Saddam Hussein regime possessed active weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This pretext to join the Iraq war became very unpopular among the British public. While the chief executive of any country has to sometimes indulge in falsification or misinformation because of national interests, to send soldiers to war to die because of one’s motivation and greed is criminal. As the casualties of the two wars mounted; that he was blatantly lying through his teeth to the British public was established beyond doubt in the course of comprehensive inquiry (2009-16) into the circumstances that led to the UK’s joining the Iraq war. Accused of misleading British Parliament, Blair was forced to finally resign in 2007.
Blair has kept to his well-known policy of fudging facts and telling lies at will. He labelled the Taliban movement a part of the global movement of radical Islam, which though consists of many different groups, shares the same basic ideology. There is a fundamental difference between the Taliban and other Islamic movements. The Afghan Taliban have a strictly national Afghan outlook. All they were fighting for was to bring peace to their war-torn country by ridding it of foreign troops. Even during their first stint in power, they never intended to include surrounding territories in their country. Though the matter of the Durand Line is still unresolved, the border dispute that arose from British colonial policy can be negotiated among neighbours. By agreeing to negotiate a peace treaty with the US that would allow Americans a “face-saving” retreat from Afghanistan, the Taliban have shown their readiness to find negotiated political solutions and stand by them. Their troops stopping at the gates of Kabul is ample testimony to their discipline, command and control. Their field commanders managed a peaceful entry without bloodshed or devastating the city. Negotiated solutions were sought in Panjshir, but their failure caused the Taliban to act swiftly and firmly to stop the rot. While Wali Masood may eventually come to some understanding and arrangement, Amrullah Saleh will be instigated by India, like he was two decades ago, to keep creating trouble. Such people need to be hunted down!
Blair further stated that Islamism, both the ideology and the violence, is a first-order security threat and, unchecked, it will come to us, even if centred far from us, as 9/11 demonstrated. That may apply to other movements, but not the Taliban. By blaming Islamism as the reason for the destabilisation of the Middle East and Africa, Blair conveniently forgets that Al-Qaida and other violent movements, including Osama bin Laden himself, were and are creations of western intelligence agencies. Blair stated: “Especially after the fall of Afghanistan, the leading powers must unite to develop an agreed strategy. Even if initial discussions centre around Western nations, China and Russia also have an interest in countering this ideology; and our best allies are to be found in the many Muslim countries, including in the Middle East, desperate to retake their religion from extremism.”
By including Russia and China in this scenario, Blair has tried to smooth over his country’s anti-Chinese and anti-Russian policies and hybrid warfare. Again, he has denied the reality of Eurasian development. While this is just stupid clear to anybody who wishes to see the facts, the second half of Blair’s proposition is more dangerous. By implicating Muslim counties, especially the monarchies of UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (the perception is that they are paying him as a “consultant”), he is opening another Pandora’s box to potentially strengthen divisions between Muslims, sacrificing more Muslim lives for the sake of Western interests. Blair said, “We need some boots on the ground and naturally our preference is for the boots to be local.”
If it was not so blatantly crass, one could well quote late US Gen Patton, who said, “No one ever won a war by dying for his country, he won a war by making the other (whatever) die for his country.”
The Muslim world needs to understand the danger that Blair’s political plan implies.
Fighting proxy wars by using third world fighters will not always be possible. Keeping in mind President Biden’s recent announcement that America has decided that for the foreseeable future it has a very limited appetite for military engagement, Blair has concluded that Europe and NATO should take over from here. He suggested: “Western notions of liberal democracy and freedom are exportable, or will ever take root except in the somewhat decadent terrain of Western society. Recovering confidence in our values and their universal application is a necessary part of ensuring we stand up for them and are prepared to defend them.”
The good news is that Europe and the EU – not least due to British Brexit- are divided and unable to develop a coherent strategy. Moreover, the EU nations do not have any appetite for conflict or even the capacity to wage a war on the scale that the US did – and still can! Consider the once-vaunted German army and the terrible state it is in when compared to other western countries. NATO suffered from the defeat in Afghanistan, and smarting over being left out, is in the final planning for a safe exit by the US. This most recent experiment of exporting western values to non-western societies has left EU members confused and ill-prepared.
Regardless of how the EU or NATO try to recover and regroup, historical progress has long moved away from them and is situated today in Eurasia, led by China Russia and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). People must realise this change and adjust to ground realities. In the older days, Sir Basil Zaharoff used to “arrange” wars at the behest of arms manufacturers like Krupp, etc. On a personal note, when we (as a private security firm) wished to part company with G4S, they were reluctant and alluded to working with Blair’s consulting firm (Email of April 16, 2011). This was a veiled threat to “come in line – or else”! Thanks to all-out support across the board in Pakistan, we outright purchased the company 100%- amicably, and were rid of G4S from Pakistan! Blair “the consultant” earns money by “creating” wars on behalf of nations with vested interest! One can only hope that the British people will finally repudiate Blair’s bankrupt and dangerous effort to stoke conflict to make money for himself!