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26th January 2012
TONY BLAIR WAS RIGHT
[Continued from previous post]
Put out of your mind this part of the narrative.
[At 35:00] “A few days after the Bushes and the Putins Russian soldiers in Chechnya carried out a routine raid on a village […] Russia’s overwhelming force drove the Chechens to suicide bombings and terror attacks“.
It is BBC western liberal parlance on Chechen Moscow Theatre terrorism (emboldened). It is the usual morally equivalent excuse from the “we made ’em do it – all our fault” brigade. Apart from a few minor flaws like that the programme was insightful.
But were France and Germany really determined to flummox UNSC support for Bush & Blair?
Enough to sign up to Putin’s manoeuvering? Putin, who had already by then shown himself to be not exactly trustworthy? It certainly seems so.
I realise it is arguable that the “proviso” mentioned in the programme’s narrative gave Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schröder wiggle room.
Putin wanted Chirac’s word that he would vote against the war unless there was hard evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The joint position was agreed. If there was a vote without these conditions we would both veto it.
It is arguable. But only just. In realpolitik both had already made it clear to Tony Blair that they did not support the US and British leaders in their quest for a new UN resolution.
After forming their newly found mutually helpful relationship with Putin, imagine either the French or German leader suddenly agreeing to support the UNSC resolution on Iraq. Acceptable “hard evidence” or not, it would not have happened.
Blair was right. Putin’s advances to Chirac were simply using the French President’s already public position against the Iraq invasion.
REMEMBER THE HISTORY
In October 2002, at a crucial EU summit, as Blair and US President George W Bush were becoming increasingly isolated, Chirac privately urged caution, even using the Prime Minister’s then-infant son to bolster his argument, saying – ‘Leo will not thank you if you take Britain into war.’ (See Guardian)
It was also reported in the Guardian article, quoting Stephen Wall, that Blair and Alastair Campbell had decided to place the blame for deadlock squarely on Chirac, following a breakdown of diplomatic efforts to get a second Security Council resolution that could have delayed an invasion.
‘I recall the moment,’ Wall says in the documentary, ‘because I happened to be in the corridor in Number 10 when he and Alastair Campbell were walking down the corridor and they decided effectively to play the anti-French card. They’d been given an opportunity to do so because President Chirac had given a broadcast interview the previous day in which he said that, as of that moment, France would veto a resolution authorising war.’
[NOTE the last sentence above. “They’d been given an opportunity … Chirac … veto”]
Wall also says it was clear that Chirac had not ruled out the possibility of future French support for such a compromise.
Ah oui, mes petits. Peut-être.
Mr Wall did not have to make the decisions.
“Putin, Russia & the West”, Part 1 of 4 is also reviewed here at The Telegraph.
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Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition
1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!
2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.
3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.
4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!