“for neither conscious nor shame ought to have any influence upon you… those who obtain great power do so either by force or fraud, and having got them they conceal under some honest name the foulness of their deeds”. – Irving Kristol, quoting Machiavelli
Lying and deception are traits ingrained in the post-modern political world we inhabit today. Worse still, is the continued unaccountability and societal indifference to the consequences of these traits. This remains the case despite wars initiated upon on blatant lies, ulterior motives and utter deception. The Iraq war comes to mind, however, it is frequently isolated as a case of bad planning and a blip in the normally “virtuous” causes of Western violence in the Middle East. Few recall that the massively delayed and strategically released (Jack Straw’s Brexit silver-lining) Chilcot report went through a sanitisation process with documents and correspondences blocked at the behest of the Americans. Whistle-blowers like Katharine Gun and her leaks demonstrating underhanded tactics to convince UN Security Council delegates to favour war, were ignored. It matters little that a grinding genocide has taken place over the course of the War on Terror.
Every facet of the Iraq war and the accompanying War on Terror is doused in deception.
It has become routine now. Take a minor issue, concoct a dark, Muslim-linked conspiracy theory around it which reinforces far-right narratives of Muslim hoards taking over Europe any time soon, sell it to the public via the right-wing media which is connected to neocon think-tanks, and after thoroughly hyping the situation, push through a policy, which, to normally sane minds, would be unpalatably surreal. The prime example for this is the 2014 Trojan Hoax scenario and the resultant roll out of the PREVENT Duty. Since then, minor operations broadly using the above design, have seen Muslim governors banned and Muslim MPs smeared under bogus “entryism” allegations to form the basis of the new Counter-Extremism Strategy.
This pattern of neocon behaviour is trite but is still used.
The preceding weeks have seen trickling news around Muslims “prisoner radicalisation”. In keeping with the demonisation of Islam and the dehumanisation of Muslims, the theme of attributing every social ill to the Muslim remains buoyant.
“Peace increases our peril”
There was a time when the “Islamists” were admired by the British. Be it the “brave” Afghan Taliban who fought against Communism, or the Ottomans through their tolerant “calm, absorbed Islamism” who staved off Russian Christian extremism. They were admired because there was an interest to be served.
Pealing through Tony Blair’s staple neocon doublespeak and uncovering Blair’s definition of Islamism, it emerges that the war against Islam is ever-fervent, disguised under the words of human rights, democracy and convoluted epithets.
This is the third piece in the series exploring the neocon “mode of thinking” based upon Tony Blair’s essay. The first piece can be accessed here. The second piece is available here.
What becomes evident is that, though other factors exist for violence, for Blair, they are trivial compared to the threat of Islamism. Be it extremism of other faiths now, or Christian barbarity of the past. “We are dealing with the present” we are told. And in the present, we have the Boko Haram and ISIS.
Blair writes that they are fanatic, and “thus it is hard to envisage compromise with such people. They have no reasonable demands upon which we can negotiate.” Therefore there is no alternative except to fight such people:
“At a certain point, once they know superior and determined force is being used against them, some of them at least may be prepared to change.”
In other words, take a leaf out of Israel’s book and bomb the people into compliance. Ironically, a month after Blair writing his neocon manual for World War III, ISIS have been negotiating with States and releasing prisoners whilst the Boko Haram have negotiated a truce.
The feed for these groups are the “spectrum”. And herein lies Blair’s blatant imperialistic design. “Islamism” he defines as a “politicisation of religion to an intense and all-encompassing degree”. It is an ideology and a theology derived from Salafist thinking, he claims. It isn’t. An analysis of contemporary Islamic political movements (most of which are reactions formed in the colonialist/Nation State paradigm) is beyond the scope of this piece however, suffice to say, an outright rejection of an Islamic political and military ascendancy denies 1300 years of Islamic history in which Islam ruled through the Caliphate. The existence and the preference for a khilafa within the Islamic paradigm is a position adopted by all four mainstream schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
This is the second piece in the series exploring the neocon “mode of thinking” based upon Tony Blair’s essay which outlines dangerous policies and provides for a blueprint for perpetual war. The first part can be accessed here.
Deflecting Foreign Policy
For Blair, the elephant in the room, Western foreign policy, has little to do with the violence in Iraq. The previously peacefully coexisting Sunnis and Shia, are now, post-Iraq war, at each other’s throats. Perhaps the incident of 19th September 2005 can shed some light on this. On this day two undercover British SAS operatives, dressed in traditional Arab garb who were planning to set off bombs in the main square in Basra coinciding with a religious event, were caught in the act, imprisoned and then broken out of the police station by the British army.
The leading thinker and linguist, Noam Chomsky, writes,
“By now, Shiites and Sunnis are the bitterest enemies, thanks to the sledgehammer wielded by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney… and others like them who understand nothing beyond violence and terror and have helped to create conflicts that are now tearing the region to shreds.”
Source: the Guardian
Despite the fact that Tony Blair has lost credibility amongst the masses, his Tony Blair Faith Foundation has operations in 30 Middle Eastern and African countries where it exports his thinking and has recently discussed domestic policies which strike a disturbing semblance with existing strategies in place. As such I felt it necessary to write a series of pieces on Tony Blair, the neoconservative “persuasion” embedded in his rhetoric, and his declarations which are reflected in his recent essay and which seeks to implement more broadly the contemporary neocon Western foreign policy.
The “Original Neocon”
The public refutations and exposes of neoconservatism during the 2003 Iraq war rightfully condemned the idea and its proponents surrounding George W. Bush like Paul Wolfowitz to the point that it became even more recluse than the natural propensity of neocons to disguise their policies.
During that time, it was not the likes of Douglas Murray, but Tony Blair who supported and implemented neoconservativism in his foreign and domestic policies. Tony Blair was in fact ahead of the neocons and for one commentator, he was “the original neocon”. William Kristol, the inheritor of Irving Kristol’s neocon legacy, approvingly said of Blair,
“Blair was one of the first world leaders, I think, to really grasp what had happened on 9-11 and its implications, that we were in a global war in terror, that we had to transform the Middle East, the whole thing… I think after the attacks in July, Tony Blair has now gone the next step.”
In an interview with Panorama, Kristol gave his conclusion on him: “I think Tony Blair is a kind of neoconservative, despite himself”. Recently, when Blair tried to remove himself of blame from the Iraq war, calls were made for him to be removed as a (laughable) “peace” envoy. However this shifting of blame was not dissimilar to the behaviour of the US neocon architects of the Iraq 2003 war. William Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz also distanced themselves, blaming the current state of Iraq on Obama for failing to intervene.