Thursday, January 24, 2008


Intellectual Ideas Motivating Blair and Bush's Invasion of Iraq

I see that Jonathan Steele has backed up his excellent series of articles culled from his Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq, with another calling for an inquiry into the war's diplomatic provenance. On Tuesday night I chaired a lecture by Professor Inderjeet Parmar(Manchester) on this same subject. He offered a fascinating analysis based on a more socio-intellectual study of the two main enthusiasts for the war. He argued that:

1. Blair's Calvanist education and study of 19th century Liberal philosophers, plus his own 'discovery' of Christian socialism at Oxford led him to support a 'neo-imperial' mission to re-order the world.

2.Both Blair and Bush agreed that the post-1989 period represented 'wasted time', years of drift that could have been used to press home Anglo-American dominance. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, so the argument ran, Washington had missed the chance to move decisively and impose a Pax Americana.

3. 9-11 provided the golden opportunity to exploit the resultant state of flux and move to create a different world with a more interventionist agenda.

4. In addition both leaders were moved by:

i) The 'Democratic Peace Theory' which argues that democracies don't fight each other and that therefore its spread could make war obsolete.

ii) The 'Democratic Transition Theory' which asserts that democracy can successfully be transplanted into a former autocracy, even if no traditions exist therein of democratic traditions or any sympathetic civil society.

I suppose the final piece of the jig-saw was provided by the religious beliefs both shared which convinced them they had somehow been chosen to do His work to engineer good works and remake the world according to His wishes. Such fallacies, one suspects underlie many similar disasters into which well meaning leaders have dragged their reluctant armies.

Hi Skipper,
Intellectual Ideas Motivating Blair and Bush is an interesting idea.

I find it impossible to accept that there was any intellectual process in the decision to go to war. Surely Bush is an intellectual vacuum.

If you look at Bush’s track record when governor of Texas it is clear that he is devoid of compassion, has little regard for human life (unless it is still in the womb!!) and has little sense of justice.

He probably had the objective of

1). Finishing off the job his father failed to finish
2). Do the bidding of the neo-cons who surrounded him.

9/11 certainly allowed an excuse amongst the Americans despite the fact that it was nothing to do with the Iraqis.

The tipping point was more to do with oil, not the Iraqi oil reserves but their proposed move from dollar pricing of oil to a euro based pricing. The fall of the petrodollar would have had serious economic issues.

In the case of Blair – it is nonsense to talk of Anglo-American influence – it is American influence through and through. Blair wanted to recapture the Thatcher-Reagan partnership, the difference is, much as I dislike the Wicked Witch, at least it was a mutual relationship – Blair was happy to be a lap dog.

As for them being Christians:-
1) They are outright liars who took their countries to war on deliberate falsehoods
2) They place no value on human life
3) They ignore any advice from religious leaders – including the Pope

These are neither Christian nor intellectual.

Finally this notion of democracy that the West has is also pretty shallow – the West likes democracies when the electorate get the answer the West is in favour of. There are democracies that have fought each other, Israel – Lebanon for example.

To look for any intellectual reason for going to war is like looking for cheese on the Moon.
Well, it seems like we sort of disagree on this. Sir Christopher Meyer described Bush as 'smart as a whip' and i'm sure he is not as dumb as we like to think. It's quite possible to act according to a tradition of thought without realising one is in it- how else do we explain the actions of Tory governments over the years?
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