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Tony Blair calling

June 2, 2007

I’ve never really had a strong opinion (either good or bad) about the British Prime Minister (soon of course to be ex-), but this is pretty impressive.

3. Be very clear about global terrorism

I fear the world, and especially a large part of Western opinion, has become dangerously misguided about this threat. If there was any mistake made in the aftermath of September 11th, it was not to realise that the roots of this terrorism were deep and pervasive. Removing the Taliban from government seemed relatively easy. Removing their ideology is so much harder. It has been growing for over a generation. It is based on genuine belief, the believers being people determined to outlast us, to be indefatigable when we are weary: to be strong-willed and single-minded when we have so many other things to preoccupy us (and when the comforts of our Western lives seem so untouchable by the activities of what are naturally seen as a few fanatics).

People make much of the fact that in each area of conflict, the extremists take a different shape. They point to the historical absurdity of, for example, Iranian elements linking up to the Taliban. Above all, they say, their weapons, numbers and support are puny compared with ours.

This misses the central point. Revolutionary communism took many forms. It chose unlikely bedfellows. But we still spent decades confronting it.

This new terrorism has an ideology. It is based on an utter perversion of the proper faith of Islam. But it plays to a sense of victimhood and grievance in the Muslim world. Many disagree with its methods. But too many share some of its sentiments. Its world view is completely reactionary. But its understanding of terrorism and its power in an era of globalisation is arrestingly sophisticated and strategic.

It means that it can go into any situation where peace is fragile or conflict possible. It can, by the simple use of terror, break the peace and provoke the conflict. It has worked out that in an age of mass media, instantly relayed round the world, impact counts: and nothing makes more impact than the carnage of the innocent. It has learned that as states respond to terror so they can, unwittingly, feed it.

Clear-sighted stuff.

I suspect the world’s going to miss Mr Blair when he’s gone — quite a lot.

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One comment

  1. This new (state) terrorism has an ideology. It is based on an utter perversion of the proper faith of (Redneck State Christianity). But it plays to a sense of (American exceptionalism) and (sense of entitlement) in the (multinational oil) world. Many disagree with its methods. But too many (facists) share some of its sentiments. Its world view is completely reactionary. But its understanding of (state) terrorism and its power in an era of globalisation is arrestingly sophisticated and strategic.

    Can’t (or wont) see the other side of the coin Mr Rob?

    Why dont you ask the British people if they will miss Mr Blair ?



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