What a complete tosser Tony Blair is. Instead of being hauled before the International Criminal Court and put on trial for war crimes, the bugger's out strutting the world stage, dispensing his own special brand of cluelessness and making obscene amounts of money into the bargain ($US250,000 per 90' talk). An update on same came this weekend in the form of a feature by Ginny Dougary in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend magazine. Some quotes (and comments):-
"Everyone has an opinion about him, certainly in the UK, and feels the need to express it, usually with some force. Cabbies, handymen and the like call him all sorts of unprintable names. Their main complaint is Iraq... but they also blame him for the spend-spend-spend culture that, in their opinion, has landed Britain in the mess it's in now. Their general impression... is that he has single-handedly failed to bring peace to the Middle East, has achieved nothing in his role of Middle East envoy, earns far too much money, owns too many houses and swans around the world raking in the loot for speeches and consultancies, probably at taxpayers' expense." Funny that.
Blair has 70 staff "dotted around the globe." And they're "all young and dynamic and fiercely bright." God save us from such as these.
"In one of our interviews, I ask him the childlike question: does he want to save the world? He... replies, 'I wouldn't be in politics unless I thought there was a specific purpose of making the world a better place'." He's successfully screwed Iraq and Afghanistan. Who better to screw Palestine?
On Gaza: "What has happened has been very shocking and very sad - the scenes of carnage - but that is war, I'm afraid, and war is horrible." The man fairly drips sincerity.
And what has the Quartet's envoy* been up to in Palestine? "It's important to remember when reading the criticisms that Blair has not made an impact in this regard... that his remit... is to work for the Palestinians on law and order, strengthening their security capability and developing their economy, to prepare them for statehood. 'It isn't to do the political negotiation', he said." Of course not, it's to suck them in. (See my posts USrael's Palestinian Recruits (12/12/08) & The Bigger Picture (4/11/08))
"The difficult thing is that what each side says about the other is true. The Israelis have a genuine security problem and the Palestinians have a genuine problem with the Israeli occupation, and those two things are linked, so unless you find a way to to work out that problem you'll never get a political negotiation to succeed." Still clueless after all these years.
"The next day offers an opportunity to witness what Blair means. We head off in convoy through the arid landscape dotted with olive and almond trees, the homes looking poorer and more ramshackle as we approach Ramallah... the unofficial capital of the Palestinian National Authority. Blair is to address senior leaders of the new security force as part of a new initiative he has been working on with Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, and the US generals Jim Jones and Keith Dayton... After explaining his role in the Quartet, he talks about the work he has been involved in for the past year and how well he knows 'the problems, the challenges and, indeed the injustices the Palestinian people face'. He highlights the importance of people being able to live freely in their own land but says that 'a state is not just about a homeland, it is not just a map, a state is also a frame of mind'." Listen, my Palestinian friends, if you behave yourselves and cooperate with us and our dear, dear Israeli friends, you'll get your state. Sure, it won't be anything to write home about, what with all the usual attributes of a state such as sovereignty and contiguous territory missing, but hey, it's really all in the mind you know. If you think you've got a state, then voila, you've got a state!
The practice of shoe throwing is, of course, verboten in such circles - they know on which side their bread buttered: "Afterwards there are amazing scenes as Blair is surrounded by the men who had looked so leaden and impassive when he arrived. All of them want to shake his hand, everyone wants to be photographed with their heads cocked towards his..."
On Iraq: "The most difficult thing... is the sense of responsibility for people who have given their lives and fallen - the soldiers and, indeed, the civilians... On the other hand... I look at the Middle East now and I think, well, if Saddam and his two sons were still running Iraq, how many other people would have died and would the region be more stable'?" Answers: a hell of a lot less & emphatically yes.
[* According to the UK Daily Mail (10/2/09) ,Blair's meanderings as Quartet envoy have cost the British taxpayer 500,000 pounds so far.]