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Blair Doctrine


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Considering its importance, Tony Blair’s speech last Friday in Sedgefield has not received very much publicity. In the speech he put forward ideas that might in future may become known as the Blair’s Doctrine. Much of what Blair had to say has already been said before by George Bush. However, Blair went further than Bush has he suggested that International Law might need changing.

One of the most important passages in the speech was when he admitted that regime change on its own would never have been a justification for war. Instead, Blair made an attempt to link the invasion of Iraq with the war on terrorism. He restated the point made several times by Bush that everything changed with what happened in the United States on September 11th. Although he claims that he was so shrewd he was already changing his opinion on international law before this event:

“So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance.”

Blair gives two reasons for this:

(1) “The first was the increasing amount of information about Islamic extremism and terrorism that was crossing my desk.”

(2) “The second was the attempts by states - some of them highly unstable and repressive - to develop nuclear weapons programmes, CW and BW materiel, and long-range missiles.”

Blair adds: “The global threat to our security was clear. So was our duty: to act to eliminate it.”

In what was a very muddled speech Blair then jumps to the need to invade Iraq as part of the war on terrorism. Yet there was no evidence of a link between Iraq, al-Qaida and international terrorism (although since the invasion is has become good recruiting ground for terrorists).

Bush claims that Islamist terrorists are attempting to bring about a worldwide religiously motivated conflagration with no discernible political goals. This is of course false and shows a lack of understanding what terrorism is all about.

Blair admitted that invading Iraq was risky: “But do we want to take the risk? That is the judgement. And my judgement then and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with states or organisations or individuals proliferating WMD, is one I simply am not prepared to run. This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favour playing it long. Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivete and at worst dereliction.”

The implication from this is that Blair is willing to order pre-emptive strikes against states helping international terrorism. Blair admitted that this to do this is to break international law. Therefore, he suggests that international law needs to be changed.

Of course this could lead to international anarchy. Therefore Blair argues only democratic countries should have this freedom to take pre-emptive action. In doing so Blair attempts to divide the world into “good guys” (democratic states) and “bad guys” (non-democratic states that might help to support international terrorists). In this way Israel becomes a “good guy” while the rest of the Middle East contains countries that are or have the potential to be “bad guys”.

The main problem with the Blair Doctrine is that it applies different standards to different countries. Therefore democratic countries like Britain and the United States have the right to produce weapons of mass destruction in order to protect their security. However, those undemocratic countries who attempt to produce them for their security, can be invaded and disarmed. The Blair Doctrine does not support the idea of equal rights. It is only the strong and powerful under this new system that will have the freedom to carry out pre-emptive strikes.

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Your contribution on Blair doctrine raises a lot of questions. The world of politics is a vast and unpredictable space of doctrines, agreements, ideas and ideologies which altogether are guiding politicians of today and also politicians of tomorrow in their decisions when dealing with threats, imminent war situations and also with different international agreements, alliances and co-operations.

I myself tried to discuss these things when comparing two opposite kind of politicians as could be view at: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=372.

The politicians as I called them with a “realistic” approach to the world affairs and the politicians with a “humanitarian” approach. The second ones, in my view, very often deliver to the mankind a lot of sufferings despite their noble goals.

I do believe that Tony Blair is a “realistic” politician. I do not believe that he is guided by feelings and reasons which could be called as; “a right thing must be done, a right decision must be taken”.

Are you absolutely sure that it is you who is right and that Tony Blair is without any pardon wrong? If it is so what is the ground for this view? The newspapers article you read? The critical television programs you watch? The debates with your friends (which probably do have the same opinion as you have) you have? Or do you have any other information unknown to us which you base your opinion at? Or are you reacting only like righteous citizen fighting for the truth? What is the truth?

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Are you absolutely sure that it is you who is right and that Tony Blair is without any pardon wrong? If it is so what is the ground for this view? The newspapers article you read? The critical television programs you watch? The debates with your friends (which probably do have the same opinion as you have) you have? Or do you have any other information unknown to us which you base your opinion at? Or are you reacting only like righteous citizen fighting for the truth? What is the truth? (Dalibor)

My analysis on Tony Blair opinions is based on forty years of studying history, politics and economics. I am a libertarian socialist and therefore I am unable to buy a newspaper that shares my political opinions. However, one of the two newspapers that I buy does allow the odd article to appear that reflects my views. It is very unusual for television or radio to represent my opinions on domestic and foreign affairs. Some of my friends, especially the ones that date back forty years, share my views on Blair. However, when we get together we spend more time disagreeing than agreeing. After all, none of us have to follow the party line, as none of us are party members.

The politicians as I called them with a “realistic” approach to the world affairs and the politicians with a “humanitarian” approach. The second ones, in my view, very often deliver to the mankind a lot of sufferings despite their noble goals. I do believe that Tony Blair is a “realistic” politician. I do not believe that he is guided by feelings and reasons which could be called as; “a right thing must be done, a right decision must be taken”. (Dalibor)

I disagree. Blair is desperate to be seen as an humanitarian. I think he is currently very confused and has probably not yet decided on his future foreign policy (he is probably waiting for George Bush to make up his mind first).

Nor am I convinced that Blair’s speech is really a serious proposal as a future foreign policy. In his speech in Sedgefield Blair proposed two possible reasons for a pre-emptive strike. One concerns the belief that a “rogue state” has WMD. The second is a belief that such action is justified for “humanitarian reasons”.

One major problem with the first reason is that you have to rely on military intelligence to discover if a country has WMD that might get into the hands of terrorists. As we found with Iraq, this military intelligence is often wrong (or manufactured for political reasons).

It is also clear that Britain and the United States would be highly selective in the countries they would be willing to invade. For example, terrorists are much more likely to get WMD from Pakistan than any other country. However, for political reasons Pakistan is unlikely to be invaded.

Therefore, if this policy is followed, it will mean invading countries like Syria. However, as Iraq is showing, no country is easy to conquer. Once in, it is not easy to get out. Do you really think the British public will be willing to accept the cost of a long-term occupation of these “rogue states”?

On the surface, invading a country for “humanitarian reasons” is a more attractive proposition. However, we have a long list of countries guilty of abusing human rights. Top of the list is China. However, I doubt very much if that is on Blair’s agenda. Instead he will pick on the weak ones he feels he will be able to defeat. Ironically, it will have to be states that do not possess WMD (one of the reasons Iraq tried to give the impression they had them). This lets off other human rights abusers like North Korea.

This small nation list is probably headed by Zimbabwe. After all, we do have some responsibility for the plight of this country. Defeating the armed forces will not be difficult. However, the guerrilla warfare that would develop after invasion, would be much more difficult to deal with. Once again, would the British public be willing to accept the cost of a long-term occupation of Zimbabwe.

Not that I think that Tony Blair was really serious about implementing this policy. I suspect he is just trying to claim that the invasion of Iraq was part of a new ethical foreign policy.

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This speech was clearly an attempt by Blair to justify the Iraq war. I don't think it heralds a new dawn in international relations. If anything it shows just how unrepentant he is about his actions over the past year. I honestly believe that Blair was convinced Iraq had WMD and presented a long-term danger to Britain's security. Could Saddam be trusted in the long-term? Was containment really possible? Blair obviously though not.

Military intelligence is not fool-proof. However, it is surely preferable to gather information on potential threats to the international order than to do nothing because we might get it wrong. I'm not suggesting you (John) are actually going as far as to suggest that our security services should cease to operate. But we must give them free licence (within reason) to pinpoint threats to Britain's national security.

Blair is a realist and a pragmatic politician. The situation in the Middle East is particularly volatile just now and I would hope that he does not have any immediate plans to invade Syria. The British armed forces are over-stretched enough as it is. In a similar vein, launching an invasion of North Korea would be utter madness given their military capabilities. Pakistan presents a problem to Blair and Bush. On the one hand, Musharaff is a useful ally in the region, but on the other, Pakistan has deeply imbedded terrorist networks. Invading Pakistan would further inflame the delicate political situation in Afghanistan. Blair is realistic enough to realise this.

Invading a country for "humanitarian reasons"? I wouldn't argue that this was top of Blair's agenda, either. Why would Britain wish to embroil itself in long drawn-out conflicts? I may have supported the decision to go to war against Iraq, but that doesn't mean that there should now be an escalation of the conflict. As I wrote earlier, now is the time to take stock, face up to our responsibilities and attempt to do something constructive. I would now like to see the political will from Washington and London to place the Middle East conflict at the top of their agenda. I fear that we'll have a better chance of that happening under a Kerry presidency. Roll on November and keep your fingers crossed.

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Military intelligence is not fool-proof. However, it is surely preferable to gather information on potential threats to the international order than to do nothing because we might get it wrong. I'm not suggesting you (John) are actually going as far as to suggest that our security services should cease to operate. But we must give them free licence (within reason) to pinpoint threats to Britain's national security.

Our security services! They have very little to do with "our" security. They serve the security of the state; the security of the rich and powerful...and that usually means "security" against the public. They spend a lot of tax money on spying on UK citizens who opposed the war, they spy on trade unions, they bugged the telephones of CND and at one time they even spied on Labour MPs because they thought they were a left-wing threat to "security".... Labour MPs...left wing...which planet do these ppl inhabit!

What annoyed the spooks was that Blair and Bush wanted them to provide "facts" which fit a particularly fanciful view in which Iraq had weapons of mass destruction posing an immediate threat to the UK....if Blair genuinely believed that he is certifiable. Personally I think he is more of a xxxx than a fool but I am willing to be persuaded:)

They were also required to provide "facts" to support the supposed link between Osama Bin Laden and Saddam....two individuals who are as likely to co-operate as Ian Paisley and the Pope.

Have a nice day

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As an example of Thatcher's new terms of reference for the intelligence services, MI5 opened security files on Patricia Hewitt (general secretary of the National Council for Civil Liberties, NCCL, from 1974 to 1983) and Harriet Harman (NCCL legal officer from 1978 to 1982). On the basis of Harman's marriage to Jack Dromey (who MI5 suspected of having pro-Communist views) and the fact that Hewitt was a friend of William Birtles (who was a friend, in turn, of D.N. Pritt, described by MI5 as a "staunch friend" of the Communist Party), both women were branded on the MI5 files as "Communist sympathisers."

Following the revelations of the surveillance operation by ex-MI5 officer Cathy Massiter, Harman and Hewitt took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 1990 that the files were in breach of Article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, which guarantees protection of private life. The ruling should have resulted in the destruction of the files but they remain to this day in the possession of MI5, who argued that the women might become "potential subversives" later in life.

"We were violating our own rules. It seemed to be getting out of control.

This was happening not because CND as such justified this kind of

treatment, but simply because of political pressure."

- CATHY MASSITER, ex-MI5 officer

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Our security services!  They have very little to do with "our" security.  They serve the security of the state; the security of the rich and powerful...and that usually means "security" against the public.  They spend a lot of tax money on spying on UK citizens who opposed the war, they spy on trade unions, they bugged the telephones of CND and at one time they even spied on Labour MPs because they thought they were a left-wing threat to "security".... Labour MPs...left wing...which planet do these ppl inhabit! 

I think you might be confusing MI5 with MI6. MI6 is in charge of foreign operations and was invaluable during the Cold War era in particular. One of its finest Cold War coups was the way in which MI6 was able to obtain top-secret documents from Oleg Penkovsky, a colonel of Russian military intelligence at The Center in Moscow. This information was passed on to the CIA and certainly helped President Kennedy maintain his tough stance during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy was briefed that the Russians would back down and not risk a nuclear conflagaration.

Of course, the very secrecy of the security services makes it difficult to pass judgements on how effective they have been. I certainly would not dismiss the value of the UK's security services as you readily do. I'm sure they've made mistakes, but does that mean we should just dispense with them altogether?

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think you might be confusing MI5 with MI6. MI6 is in charge of foreign operations and was invaluable during the Cold War era in particular. One of its finest Cold War coups was the way in which MI6 was able to obtain top-secret documents from Oleg Penkovsky, a colonel of Russian military intelligence at The Center in Moscow. This information was passed on to the CIA and certainly helped President Kennedy maintain his tough stance during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy was briefed that the Russians would back down and not risk a nuclear conflagaration.

Of course, the very secrecy of the security services makes it difficult to pass judgements on how effective they have been. I certainly would not dismiss the value of the UK's security services as you readily do. I'm sure they've made mistakes, but does that mean we should just dispense with them altogether?

They bugged the NUJ, the NUM and CND ((according to Stella Rimington)) "by mistake"? They (rather ironically as it happens!) violated the rights of Harriett Harman and Patricia Hewitt "by mistake"?

Likewise MI6 bugged Kofi Annan "by mistake"?

It is not a question of "us" dispensing with "them" they are blatantly not working for "us" the citizens of a democracy but against us on behalf of the state and behalf of the rich and powerful

They also have a very interesting relationship with right wing extremists such as the Economic League (now called Caprim) which provides employers with information about trade unionists and collaborated and collaborates with MI5.

In the wake of the latest terrorist attack in Spain, New Labour can be expected to introduce more repressive measures....they have already brought in imprisonment without trial for non-UK citizens...how long before that is extended to all of us....for our own "security" of course?

Derek McMillan

socialist

Edited by derekmcmillan
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I would now like to see the political will from Washington and London to place the Middle East conflict at the top of their agenda. I fear that we'll have a better chance of that happening under a Kerry presidency.

Haven´t they just been doing that for the past year? Or is Iraq situated outside the Middle East?

What do you actually expect that Kerry will do if he wins the election? Can you give us some concrete proposal which could guide us to a better understanding of what yet untried will be tried by “the saviour” Kerry? On top of that are you expecting that Kerry will do better than Clinton managed during his eight years long presidency …….. If so, in what way?

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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I would now like to see the political will from Washington and London to place the Middle East conflict at the top of their agenda. I fear that we'll have a better chance of that happening under a Kerry presidency.

Haven´t they just been doing that for the past year? Or is Iraq situated outside the Middle East?

What do you actually expect that Kerry will do if he wins the election? Can you give us some concrete proposal which could guide us to a better understanding of what yet untried will be tried by “the saviour” Kerry? On top of that are you expecting that Kerry will do better than Clinton managed during his eight years long presidency …….. If so, in what way?

When I referred to the Middle East conflict, I was writing about the strife between Israel and the Palestinians. Although, I suspect we are in agreement over the justification for the war in Iraq, that conflict did not do a lot to improve relations between Sharon and the Palestinian authority.

I suspect that John Kerry would place a higher priority on the Road Map. I don't think I would ever describe the Democratic candidate as a "saviour", but can you honestly say that George Bush has helped to foster better relations between Israel and Palestine? Unlike Clinton (and Bush, for that matter), Kerry has a great deal of experience in the realm of foreign affairs, having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 18 years.

If you will allow me the liberty of quoting from the official Kerry campaign website:

"John Kerry believes that history and our own best interests demand that the United States maintain a steady policy of friendship and support for Israel. As the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel is our most important ally, and a critical partner in the quest for peace and security in this troubled region. America’s longstanding commitment to Israel’s independence and survival must never waver.

Forging a stable and lasting peace in the Middle East is vital to American national security, to the security of Israel and other countries in the region, and to the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a viable Palestinian state. It is also an essential part of winning the war on terror. Ignoring or downplaying the conflict, as the Bush Administration did for far too long, is a dangerous game.

From his many trips to the region, John Kerry knows that a majority of Israelis and Palestinians want peace and that Israelis expect there will be a Palestinian state. Energetic American leadership is essential to helping them achieve that peace because the United States is the one country with the ability to work with all the parties to facilitate a necessary and meaningful dialogue. John Kerry sees the Bush Administration's road map - albeit long overdue - as an acceptable approach for reinvigorating the peace process. But it will only be viable if U.S. engagement in this process is active, constant, and at the highest levels. The United States cannot walk away or lessen its commitment to this process when violence erupts and the going gets rough. Failure to remain actively engaged will lead to further difficulties down the road and set the prospects for peace farther back. John Kerry believes we must work actively to encourage an end to the violence and to help the parties take the steps outlined by the road map - which both Israelis and Palestinians find difficult. And we must be realistic about what they can and cannot accomplish.

While no country can dictate the terms of peace, those opposed to peace can destroy its prospects. Israelis and Palestinians committed to peace cannot let that happen yet again. Progress toward peace cannot be made against a backdrop of terrorism and violence; they are not legitimate tools to achieve political goals.

Prime Minister Qureia must take serious, demonstrable steps to stop the bombings against Israelis and to rein in militant Palestinian groups bent on destroying the peace process. In Kerry’s view, it is critical that our European and Arab allies support this effort aggressively. If Prime Minister Qureia is committed to this course of action, the United States and its allies should provide technical assistance and training to the Palestinian security forces to strengthen their capacity to root out terrorist groups. The United States must also work with both Israelis and Palestinians to create acceptable and verifiable security benchmarks that the Palestinian Authority can reasonably achieve. While Israel must never give up its right to protect its citizens, the Israeli government must be prepared to respond with steps to alleviate hardships on the Palestinian people. The United States must work with Israel to identify and implement these confidence building measures.

As meaningful steps are taken to fight terrorism, Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Qureia must move forward simultaneously with determination, perseverance, and demonstrated commitment on the road to peace. The United States must support their efforts - keep them focused on the end game of two states; Israel and Palestine, living side by aside in peace and security - and help them take the necessary steps to build enough confidence and trust in each other to get there. Kerry believes that a challenge of this magnitude and importance can only be met by successful and engaged Presidential leadership - leadership that he will provide as President."

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"I suspect that John Kerry would place a higher priority on the Road Map. ....... but can you honestly say that George Bush has helped to foster better relations between Israel and Palestine?" wrote cd mckie yesterday.

I do believe that during the last four decades many European and American politicians tried hard to bring peace to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Some of them succeeded better when meddling for peace in a near vicinity of the conflict. One such example is the “Camp David agreement” between Egypt and Israel that for a time created an atmosphere of calmness and hope in the whole region of Middle East.

I do believe that one of the reasons for the war on Iraq was to find yet another opportunity to “open the deadlocked situation” in the Middle East. Just think what kind of impact a democracy in the middle of utterly undemocratic Arab world would have. Instead of ”blood money” paid by Saddam to suicide bombers relatives the Iraq could be a showcase of prosperity and humane rights.

From this point of view I can for myself justify the bold and at the same time unpopular act of Bush (and Blair) to go for a war. This strategy is rather well outlined in “The End of Evil: How to win the War on Terror” written by Richard Perle and David Frum.

Reading Kerry’s word from his homepage about the need of acting for peace between Palestinians and Israelis doesn’t give me much of a hope. I’m sorry to say it but such kinds of texts have been around for a quite a long time now without achieving much. Would it be a bold guess to say that Clinton had one such text somewhere on his homepage during his presidency too? Nevertheless Clinton failed miserably on this question.

It needs much more than words to solve the conflict between these two fighting opponents.

Boldness, imagination, to stay steadfast behind in a short run unpopular but in long run maybe successful political move and also to think about this conflict in a new and unusual way. Then maybe ………

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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I do believe that during the last four decades many European and American politicians tried hard to bring peace to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Some of them succeeded better when meddling for peace in a near vicinity of the conflict. One such example is the  “Camp David agreement” between Egypt and Israel that for a time created an atmosphere of calmness and hope in the whole region of Middle East.

I do believe that one of the reasons for the war on Iraq was to find yet another opportunity to “open the deadlocked situation” in the Middle East. Just think what kind of impact a democracy in the middle of utterly undemocratic Arab world would have. Instead of  ”blood money” paid by Saddam to suicide bombers relatives the Iraq could be a showcase of prosperity and humane rights.

From this point of view I can for myself justify the bold and at the same time unpopular act of Bush (and Blair) to go for a war. This strategy is rather well outlined in “The End of Evil: How to win the War on Terror” written by Richard Perle and David Frum.

Reading Kerry’s word from his homepage about the need of acting for peace between Palestinians and Israelis doesn’t give me much of a hope. I’m sorry to say it but such kinds of texts have been around for a quite a long time now without achieving much. Would it be a bold guess to say that Clinton had one such text somewhere on his homepage during his presidency too? Nevertheless Clinton failed miserably on this question.

It needs much more than words to solve the conflict between these two fighting opponents.

Boldness, imagination, to stay steadfast behind in a short run unpopular but in long run maybe successful political move and also to think about this conflict in a new and unusual way. Then maybe ………

I agree that Jimmy Carter placed a great deal of emphasis on reaching a solution to the conflict between Egypt and Israel. However, I don't think Bush has placed the Arab Israeli conflict at the top of his agenda. The war against Iraq was not an attempt to "open the deadlocked situation" in the Middle East. It was about regime change in Iraq and a reaction to the events of 9/11. A fully-fledged democratic Iraq, if it ever happens, will benefit the Middle East as a whole, as such a country will be unlikely to attack its neighbours or kill its own people. The removal of Saddam can be justified on those grounds. The Iraq War has failed to prevent a continuation and escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Iraq war should be treated separately to the Palestinian question. Whatever the shape or form of government in Baghdad, Palestinians and Israelis will still continue to kill each other unless the West actively engages in the whole process. Any future US President has to tackle this question head on. For me that means placing priority on the Road Map to peace, thus satisfying Israel's desire for security and the Palestinians desire for a fully-independent state - not an easy task! It will therefore take a politician of vision and courage to get Sharon and Qureia to sit around the same negotiating table and work out a deal. You are right to heap praise on Carter for his role in the Camp David accords, but they did not result in a permanent solution to the conflict. I don't know if John Kerry will be a truely constructive influence on the politics of the region. However, the Americans must start to build bridges with the Arab world. Perhaps, Kerry's more internationalist line in foreign policy is what is required to start to tackle this intractable problem.

At the moment Kerry can only offer words, not deeds, unlike Bush. Bush has had a chance to make a difference, but as I stated earlier he has done little to foster better relations between Israelis and Palestinians. Are we now to hope that the Americans invade more Arab countries in an attempt to turn them into democracies? Is this the 'solution' to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Dalibor?

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Are we now to hope that the Americans invade more Arab countries in an attempt to turn them into democracies?  Is this the 'solution' to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Dalibor?

Among others promises made by Bush during his presidential campaign four years ago was the promise not involving himself and his administration in “nations building” around the world. The diplomacy by which incapable European powers forced the unwilling USA into the Balkan conflict with subsequent bombing of Serbians, despite the objections in the United Nations made by Russia, was one of the reasons behind Bush’s unwillingness.

September 11, 2001 changed all this. Since then USA are basically fighting three wars: one in Afghanistan, one in Iraq (and trying to build up these two nations!) and the third, more invisible but costly and fierce, against the terrorists.

There have been one reason, much debated by “world opinion”, for the war in Iraq namely WMD. But there has been other reasons not debated to the same extent. One of these other reasons did I mention in my last contribution.

I do not think that there will ever arouse a need not a desire to invade any other Arab countries by USA. After all Saddams Iraq was an exceptional and nasty threat to its surroundings and its own people which had to be dealt with in some way. “World opinion” demanded 1990/1991, during Kuwait crises a policy of containment. Did this containment work during nineties?? But I do believe that the invasion of Iraq will have blessing on the domestic changes in many of Arabs countries in a longer run. I do believe that these countries will become more democratic and more integrated with the rest of the world. There are some changes emerging already: Ghadaffis Libyas negotiation about their own WMD, the political debates about democracy issues in Saudi Arabia etc.

In this perspective I do believe that USA will be in a stronger position when trying to negotiate some kind of agreement between Israel and Palestinians in the future.

Beside that as far as I know there have been serious tries of implementing the Road Map to peace under the guidance of Bush’s administration in the year 2002 but the unwilling Yassir Arafat effectively blocked his first Prime Minister Abu Abbas possibilities to negotiate!

I often wonder what we (governments, politicians and debaters in Europe) are not asking the USA to deal with in order to create a better world as we Europeans would like to have it. Did you ever try to write down a list of Europeans demands on USA policy and also of our rejections of the USA steps when they didn’t suite Europe? How long do you think that list would be?

Why do we expect Kerry (or Bush) to fix the Palestinian crises?? Why do we never ask Romano Prodi, Javier Solana or Jacques Chirac together with Gerhard Schroeder to do that instead??

After all even a little country as Norway did try!!

Or why basically no one suggested yet that Tony Blair should have a try? It was the British colonial policy which helped to create much of the “Middle East” as it does exist now, once in the twenties and then again after the Second World War.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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But I do believe that the invasion of Iraq will have blessing on the domestic changes in many of Arabs countries in a longer run. I do believe that these countries will become more democratic and more integrated with the rest of the world. There are some changes emerging already: Ghadaffis Libyas negotiation about their own WMD, the political debates about democracy issues in Saudi Arabia etc.

In this perspective I do believe that USA will be in a stronger position when trying to negotiate some kind of agreement between Israel and Palestinians in the future.

You have made an interesting post, Dalibor. I still take issue with your comment in your previous post that “one of the reasons for the war on Iraq was to find yet another opportunity to “open the deadlocked situation” in the Middle East.” Bush, as I explained earlier, had other motives.

I hope you are correct that the war in Iraq will be beneficial to the Middle East peace process, but I am not so sure about that. The actions of Gaddafi are to be welcomed and no doubt he was heavily influenced by the strength of the coalition forces in Iraq. However, Libya has not been a threat to international peace for quite some time now. I still don’t think that the war in Iraq will help to solve the problems which exist between Palestine and Israel. This is a completely separate issue and one that requires an even-handed approach by the Americans and other parties around the world. The Road Map was supposed to ensure that there would be an even-handed approach to this conflict, placing certain responsibilities on both the Israelis and Palestinian Authority (PA).

Beside that as far as I know there have been serious tries of implementing the Road Map to peace under the guidance of Bush’s administration in the year 2002 but the unwilling Yassir Arafat effectively blocked his first Prime Minister Abu Abbas possibilities to negotiate!

The Israelis have continued to build settlements in the occupied territory despite half-hearted US calls for them to stop. That was a fundamental part of the Road Map. Israeli government figures show that 35% more building took place in 2003 than in 2002. I don’t think Bush has been insistent enough. Whether you agree with it or not, the feeling persists in the Arab world that the US continues to show bias in favour of Israel. Where is the political will from Washington and Israel to implement the Road Map? In George Bush’s much heralded speech of June 2002, he stated that “A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state…As we make progress towards security, Israel forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September 28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.” Sharon has not stopped.

The Palestinians are not blameless either. The continued acts of terrorism by extremists also place the Road Map in jeopardy. This is why it is vital for other countries (not only the USA) to exert pressure on both sides to fulfil the Road Map’s stated aims of seeing a viable Palestinian state established by 2005, whilst at the same time preserving the security of Israel.

I often wonder what we (governments, politicians and debaters in Europe) are not asking the USA to deal with in order to create a better world as we Europeans would like to have it. Did you ever try to write down a list of Europeans demands on USA policy and also of our rejections of the USA steps when they didn’t suite Europe? How long do you think that list would be?

Why do we expect Kerry (or Bush) to fix the Palestinian crises?? Why do we never ask Romano Prodi, Javier Solana or Jacques Chirac together with Gerhard Schroeder to do that instead??

After all even a little country as Norway did try!!

Or why basically no one suggested yet that Tony Blair should have a try? It was the British colonial policy which helped to create much of the “Middle East” as it does exist now, once in the twenties and then again after the Second World War.

As for Tony Blair, I would suggest he’s done more than most to strive for a workable solution to the problem. The British government is at present working to help the Palestinian Authority reform its security apparatus in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This amounts to providing financial and logistical support. It is not inconceivable that if there are signs of progress then Britain will send security staff experienced in the Northern Ireland conflict to help the Palestinians rebuild their security apparatus (prisons, police stations…), much of which has been destroyed by the Israelis. The first pilot scheme got under way two weeks ago in Ramallah. It is vital that the PA takes the weapons off the streets and thus assuages the justifiable fears of the Israelis. If the Palestinians can act on matters of security, then perhaps the peace process can get back on track. This British initiative has the full backing of the EU, but Bush has been very quiet thus far. The Israelis are not convinced, either. We’ll see just how successful this Blair initiative is over the coming months. However, without the active support of the USA (and that is increasingly unlikely given that it is election year in America) the crisis in the Middle East is as likely to escalate as it is to get back on track.

John Kerry may not be the answer, but I am convinced Bush has other priorities. Bush's modus operandi can do little to move the process forward. The USA has few allies abroad and is widely distrusted by Arab states the world over. I would hope that John Kerry could start to rebuild some of that trust. Perhaps, in conjunction with other countries (in Europe and the Arab world) the Palestinian peace process can move forward. I am less convinced that we will see this happening under a Bush Presidency. If the incumbent does win in November, I hope I am proved wrong.

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Our very swift exchanges of contributions touched a wide field of views on the Palestinian- Israelis conflict and also on Kerry-Busch electoral contest for presidency 2004-2008. It was a good debate despite my feelings that I was taking a wide sweeps and you small touches of brush when arguing each other. Like my suggestions that Blair could offer his own “Road Map for Peace” and your answer that British authorities are helping Palestinian Authority already.

I’m not sure that we should discuss these things under “Blair doctrine” debate. Maybe we should have been at “Middle East Conflict” debate thus allowing others to participate too. I did write some early contributions on the Palestinian-Israelis conflict there before debate started to derange. I will remember that I viewed this conflict in the mirror of history. Thus arguing that the conflict must be seem in a wider perspective than by taking a stand on the ground of Second Intifada fighting.

Nevertheless once again; many tries to end this crisis have been tried during a long time with minimal success. Why many debaters excel in blaming Bush for doing to little is a riddle for me in respect of that and also when comparing for example with Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair etc. records on this question. And as for Kerry, he still is untried and unknown in the context of Middle East.

After all it was by quoting you;

"I would now like to see the political will from Washington and London to place the Middle East conflict at the top of their agenda. I fear that we'll have a better chance of that happening under a Kerry presidency." cd mckie @ Mar 10 2004, that our debate started.

Edited by Dalibor Svoboda
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