Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Blair Doctrine on Intervention Rightly Defended

Shadow Defence Spokesman Jim Murphy has spoken out in favour of Blair's policy of humanitarian intervention, despite the debacle of Iraq. He hopes such disasters have not extinguished the altruism which informed the decision to intervene to save Kosovo.

Murphy says: "How do you stop one-and-a-half unpopular wars – with Iraq certainly being unpopular and Afghanistan at least partly there – creating an unpopular concept? The unpopular concept is that you have a responsibility beyond your own borders. We sat and watched what happened in Rwanda as an international community. Everyone said 'never again' after the previous genocide. How do you prevent people's genuine fury about Iraq stopping us from ever exercising force in the future without appearing like the 'more war' party. I don't want to let the anger about Iraq trump the shame of Rwanda."

In his speech in Chicago in 1999, Blair spelled out the conditions which needed to apply before intervention was justified:

"So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. I think we need to bear
in mind five major considerations[:]
First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting
humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing
with dictators.
Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give
peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo.
Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military
operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake?
Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of
exit strategies. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away
once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than
return for repeat performances with large numbers.
And finally, do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of
ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world."

Certainly the repercussions of Iraq and Afghanistan have made any overseas action less likely but when something awful happens as in Rwanda or Darfur, it surely behoves the world to do more than stand by wringing its collective hands? Like Murphy, I just hope there is just some residue of credibility left in the hopes underlying that speech of 12 years ago.

Oh dear.

So many open goals, so little time.

Tony Bliar – certainly the man least likely to appear in an article mentioning altruism & perhaps not the best choice for a makeover/hagiography, bearing in mind his form when fronting for J.P. Morgan during recent visits to Libya to discuss investment policy with the Qaddafi family (sorry, the Libyan Investment Authority & the Libyan Central Bank).

Kind regards

PS those five major considerations : Iraq failed on just 3 of the 5 then ?
I'd have said more than three actually.
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