I’ve always had an ambivalent opinion on Tony Blair and I must admit that is not something that happens often with me – usually I can make up my mind pretty quickly. In many respects Blair should be an archenemy as he brought three consecutive victories for the Labour. However, the level of hate he evokes in his own party implies that there is something agreeable in his thoughts and actions. I sometimes put that respect to some kind of ‘authenticity’ in one’s opinions. So, even if I don’t agree with Blair in more than many respects I still respect him as a politician and statesman. Have a look at this article distilling his reaction to the Muslim-world ‘film riots’ from BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/9547527/Tony-Blair-reaction-to-laughable-anti-Islam-film-is-dangerous-but-modernisers-will-triumph.html
On Today’s programme Blair said: “The film, it may be wrong and offensive, but it’s also laughable as a piece of film-making. And what I’m afraid is very dangerous and actually is very wrong is the reaction to it.” And “The problem with this is that you have a small number of real extremists, the people who engage in violence, but the narrative goes far deeper, which is why this is a big problem and will take a generation to sort out.”
“But it doesn’t justify the reaction, I’m afraid. If we look at how we have to engage from the West … we need to be saying to people who are starting with their democracy: ‘democracy’s not just a way of voting, it’s a way of thinking; the test of a democracy is how you treat the minority as well as how the majority comes to power; it’s about the economy and educating people for an open economy that can function in the modern world, and it’s about a view of religion … that is pluralistic, that says ‘look, I may be a Christian, I accept you’re a Muslim – we can live together and exist together.”
For the record, I actually don’t agree with his opinion on the future of the Middle East – I see it in much darker colours. I don’t think ‘a generation to sort out’ will be enough. But then I am not a politician and a Middle East envoy and don’t have to dance on thin ice. But I would say his words are definitely more statesman-like than Obama’s never-ending toothless platitudes. But I also have to say that I consider that ice too thin (and dangerous) to dance on for Western civilization. Especially when our muscles are becoming weaker and flabbier.