Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

The neocolonialist legacy of Tony Blair

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The Americans may have pulled out, but luckily the Afghans have the world’s vibrant community of witches intervening to save them. A website for these practitioners of the black arts has devoted its entire attention to the Taliban. One witch commented: ‘It seems like the Taliban gets most of their power from Allah. If we hex Allah it should affect all of the Taliban. Can we hex Allah?’ Another witch, under the user name ‘i-follow-tiny-people’, reports she has made a voodoo doll of the Taliban leader and asks: ‘Any witches want to help me with curses?’ The new Afghan rulers’ days are surely numbered.

Whatever magick the witches conjure up, it cannot possibly be less productive than an intervention by Tony Blair. The former prime minister described the US withdrawal as ‘tragic, dangerous, unnecessary’: strong words indeed, devalued only a little by the fact that for many people, myself included, he is a war criminal. It takes remarkable front for Blair to open his mouth on the issue at all, seeing as he was one of the principal reasons we now have this humiliating mess on our hands.

It was Blair’s messianic neoliberal evangelism, a mixture of arrogance, naivety and pig ignorance, which underpinned his disastrous foreign policy. That, and a remarkable sycophancy towards the USA, regardless of who was running it at the time. Blair’s view of the world was that of a simpleton, yet it persists among neoliberals to this day — not least William Hague, who cannot open his mouth without demanding that we intervene somewhere we have no right or cause to intervene. In short, the neoliberal view was that the end of history really had arrived and that all the peoples of the world desired pretty much the same thing: a nice secular democracy with gender equality, decent drains and everyone living in peace.

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