Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Blair haunts foreign policy debate

Whether or not the Iraq war was wise, it’s fair to say that it is now unwise for Tony Blair to intervene in the ongoing foreign policy debate. The former Prime Minister was under fire last week as the country British and US forces invaded in 2003 was rent asunder by ISIS, and naturally the debate about whether these developments show the intervention was the wrong decision has put further pressure on Blair. He rarely needs much pressure to justify his actions, though: he gives the impression of a man who protests too much. In his column today, Boris Johnson makes quite clear that these protests do not come without a cost to the wider debate about intervention. His accusation that Tony Blair ‘has finally gone mad’, that he is ‘unhinged’ and ‘surely needs psychiatric help’ is less stinging than this paragraph:

‘The Iraq war was a tragic mistake; and by refusing to accept this, Blair is now undermining the very cause he advocates – the possibility of serious and effective intervention. Blair’s argument (if that is the word for his chain of bonkers assertions) is that we were right in 2003, and that we would be right to intervene again.

‘Many rightly recoil from that logic. It is surely obvious that the 2003 invasion was a misbegotten folly. But that does not necessarily mean – as many are now concluding – that all intervention is always and everywhere wrong in principle, and that we should avoid foreign entanglements of all kinds.’

Boris concludes that Blair should ‘put a sock in it’ unless he accepts ‘the reality of the disaster he helped to engender’. The Mayor also argues in the piece that the intervention was flawed because there was no plan for the transition afterwards.

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