10:32 AM, Jun 20, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
On Monday, June 10, former British prime minister Tony Blair released a thoughtful memorandum that was quickly reproduced on websites around the world. Titled “The Trouble Within Islam,” Blair’s reflections were stimulated by the resurgence of Islamist terror in Britain, where a serviceman, Lee Rigby, was brutally murdered on May 22 by two jihadists. Blair’s remarks also seemed to reflect the shock of the Boston bombing of April 15.
Blair stipulated in his message that Islam as a religion is not to blame for such atrocities, and that most Muslims living in Britain were “horrified at Rigby’s murder.” Nevertheless, according to Blair, a dangerous ideology has spread wide in Muslim ranks, and “we are deluding ourselves if we believe that we can protect the United Kingdom simply by what we do at home. The ideology is out there. It is not diminishing.”
The former British prime minister went on to warn, “Syria now is in a state of accelerating disintegration. President Bashar al-Assad is brutally pulverizing entire communities that are hostile to his regime.” He noted, “The West’s overwhelming desire to stay out of [Syria] is completely understandable. But we must also understand that we are at the beginning of this tragedy. Its capacity to destabilize the region is clear.”
In a further review of challenges in the Middle East and beyond, Blair touched on the spillover of the Syrian catastrophe into Jordan and Lebanon, the intrusion of Hezbollah, the intrigues of Iran, the revival of al Qaeda in Iraq, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in North Africa, the eruption of radicalism in Mali, and crises from Yemen through Pakistan to Burma and the Philippines.
Blair’s conclusion is long overdue: “There is a problem within Islam, and we have to put it on the table and be honest about it. There are, of course, Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu ones. But I am afraid that the problematic strain within Islam is not the province of a few extremists.”
Regardless of his perception of Islamist doctrines, however, Blair has failed to propose an adequate response to them.
He concluded his June 10 musings by stating that peace and security are insufficient, and that his nonprofit organization, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, has the “specific purpose . . . to educate children of different faiths around the world to learn about each other and live with each other.”
One could suggest cynically that appeals focusing on “the children” are very old news in humanitarian circles, and are seldom known for success. In many societies plagued with Islamist extremism, Muslim kids play with kids from other religious confessions but then are driven away from them when they grow up, attend universities, enter professions, and come into contact with fanatical preachers.
How does the Tony Blair Faith Foundation endeavor to change this pattern? In the ex-Yugoslav republic of Kosovo, “A Week of Tolerance and Reconciliation” was sponsored by the Blair Foundation, the United Nations Development Program, British and Norwegian diplomats, and the Kosovo government, along with two more NGOs, Soul of Europe and the Balkan Institute. It culminated in a May 24-26 conference with the grandiose title “Faith and Reconciliation: What is the Future of Interfaith Dialogue?”
The conclave, held in the northern Kosovo city of Pec, attracted 100 or so participants from a stunning variety of worldwide religious communities, including Al Haj Aye U Lwin of the Burmese Muslims, Robert Eisen, a professor of Judaic studies at George Washington University, and Abdulqahir Muhammad Qamar, an expert in Islamic law from Saudi Arabia. The Kosovo police, according to local media, took special measures to protect the gathering. In a sea of diverse religious costumes, perhaps the most notable was the purple cassock of Archbishop Malkhaz Songulashvili, primate of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia. Within the small country in the Caucasus where his church is active, Baptists are a tiny minority, representing less than 1 percent of the population, which is made up overwhelmingly of Orthodox Christians.
8:42 AM, Jul 26, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney met with Tony Blair in London earlier today. Here's a picture:
Romney is in London to kick off his foreign tour with the opening of the Olympic games tomorrow night.
What Tony Blair knows (and Barack Obama doesn’t). Sep 27, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 02 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
In a campaign speech on July 14, 2007, Senator Barack Obama railed against the Iraq war and President Bush’s obstinate refusal to end it. “We cannot win a war against the terrorists if we’re on the wrong battlefield,” Obama said. In another speech a few weeks later, he said, “The president would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda’s war against us, not an Iraqi civil war.
The former prime minister's memoir. 2:00 PM, Sep 10, 2010 • By MICHAEL WEISS
Old wounds shall be worried anew; stale arguments shall be leavened once more.
Tony Blair’s record-shattering memoir, A Journey, which has been marketed for its salacity of disclosures about Gordon Brown (emotionally unintelligent, blackmailing), the Queen (lunch-maker and dish-washer), and Princess Diana (dangerously emotional, manipulative) was published on a day when its author wasn’t even in England but the Labour party was in the midst of deciding its next leader.
Appeasing the media has reduced the Tory strategy to the twin pillars of inoffensiveness and not being Labour. Mar 22, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 26 • By ANDREW STUTTAFORD
Decoding Gephardt, doubting Blair, doing drugs, and more.12:00 AM, Aug 4, 2003 • By
THE DAILY STANDARD welcomes letters to the editor. Letters will be edited for length and clarity and must include the writer's name, city, and state.
William Kristol is a smart guy, but he appears to be making a silly mistake in Gephardt's 16 Words. Like other conservatives he is missing important nuances in the speech of a sophisticated thinker.
Tony Blair comes to Washington and brings down the house. 12:00 AM, Jul 21, 2003 • By LARRY MILLER
A LOT OF PERFORMERS disagree with me on this, but I hate it when audiences whoop to show their pleasure. Before the taping of an HBO special years ago, the producer walked out to whip the audience into a frenzy, which he thought was a good thing for a comedy show. "Are you going to get crazy tonight?!" he screamed. Each time they responded, he said it wasn't crazy enough, and that they had to get wilder and wilder, and actually had them practice howling. I watched from the wings, and when he walked off, he winked at me and said, "Ready?" And I told him not to start just yet.
From the July 28, 2003 issue: Anatomy of a scandal that wasn't.Jul 28, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 44 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
KARL ROVE is a genius. No--Rove probably gets more credit than he deserves for political smarts, and the president gets too little, so let's rephrase that: George W. Bush is a genius.
Almost two weeks ago, the president ordered his White House staff to bollix up its explanation of that now-infamous 16-word "uranium from Africa" sentence in his State of the Union address.
From the July 28, 2003 issue: The Bush administration's mistake on uranium in Africa came in handling the July flap, not the January speech.Jul 28, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 44 • By FRED BARNES
IT WAS JULY 7, the Monday after the Fourth of July weekend, and chaos reigned at the White House. President Bush and his senior staff were frantically preparing to leave later in the day for a five-day trip to Africa. Ari Fleischer, beginning his final week as White House press secretary, answered reporters' questions in the morning in the West Wing briefing room. He was pressed about a 16-word sentence in Bush's State of the Union speech on January 28 that had cited efforts by Saddam Hussein to buy uranium in Africa for his nuclear weapons program. Fleischer botched the response.
Tony Blair deserves better from American than a medal.Jul 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 43 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
AS TONY BLAIR heads for America to collect his Congressional Gold Medal this week, he must be thinking, "With America for a friend, I surely don't need any enemies." He gambled that his new friend, George W. Bush, would see loyalty as a two-way street. So far, he is losing his bet.
Britain's prime minister knew that he was taking an enormous political risk when he decided to join Washington in attacking Iraq. The left of his own Labour party was opposed to the war: Many in that faction did not see Saddam Hussein as a threat, others felt that action without U.N.
From the June 5, 2003 Los Angeles Times: Why would they lie, knowing postwar weapons searches were inevitable?12:00 AM, Jun 6, 2003 • By MAX BOOT
OPPONENTS of the war in Iraq must be chagrined to see pretty much all of their arguments discredited by events. The invasion did not cause greater regional unrest; instead it led to a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. There have been no massive refugee flows or other humanitarian disasters. U.S. troops did not encounter a Stalingrad on the Euphrates. And so on.
Not able to forgive George W. Bush and Tony Blair for being right, the naysayers are now emphasizing what looks to be their strongest argument: the failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction.
ADVANCE EDITORIAL from the April 21, 2003 issue: The postwar temptations that President Bush must resist.Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By FRED BARNES
THE UNITED NATIONS is a temptation that's easy to resist. It won't enforce its own resolutions. Libya, a police state, chairs its human rights commission. It provides an arena where France, with its unearned Security Council veto, has enough leverage to pursue a campaign to restrain the power--and good works--of the United States. So when British prime minister Tony Blair, at the Belfast summit last week, pressed for a major role for the U.N.
The scenes in Baghdad flow from understandings realized at the American founding.1:00 PM, Apr 9, 2003 • By DAVID BROOKS
I WISH MICHAEL KELLY were alive to see this day. He would have known how to savor it. I wish Ronald Reagan could be aware of the scenes being played out in Baghdad. He would know that the liberationist sentiment he rekindled in the American heart didn't die out with the liberation of eastern and central Europe.
With his optimism, Reagan revived the progressive spirit that courses through our founding Declaration, that all human beings are created equal and all are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.
After trying to keep Iraqis under Saddam's thumb, the United Nations now wants to control reconstruction. Bush and Blair should just say no.1:50 PM, Apr 6, 2003 • By FRED BARNES
AFTER IRAQ INVADED Kuwait in 1991, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher met with the first President Bush and urged him not to "go wobbly." Bush didn't. Now, when the current President Bush confers with Prime Minister Tony Blair in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday, he'll return the favor by offering similar advice. This time, however, the prospect of wobbliness is not on the war, but on who controls Iraq after the war and guides it toward democracy. Bush believes it should be the United States and Great Britain.