Today, the story of that old English king of legend, Canute, who attempted to stem the tides by royal command, is considered nothing more than myth. As a schoolboy, I was taught that Canute attempted this rather egotistical act, not with any vain idea of success, but to prove to his feudal barons he really was a mere mortal.
King Canute was nothing if not bold, and Liberal Democrat life peer Andrew Phillips, writing in the Guardian newspaper yesterday, stated that Tony Blair will need to be “……..bold, in the way he was in Ulster……..” if he is to make any progress in resolving the Israeli/Palestinian situation, adding, “He will need all his connections and experience to make progress.”
Lord Phillips began his article by suggesting Tony Blair may have accepted “………the thankless role of special envoy to that benighted land……” because he “……has Palestine on his conscience……..”
Andrew Phillips may be right in his assessment. After all, it’s been the Bush administration’s policies in the region and Blair’s unconditional attachment to them, that have resulted in a lack of any progress towards furtherance of the ill-fated “roadmap”.
Unlike his transatlantic counterpart, who blindly follows the indoctrinal traditions of wealthy, right-wing, nationalistic US policies without thought to the consequences, Blair is a thinker only retarded by the indoctrinal policies of religious ethics and a desire to be linked with the all-powerful. In a nutshell, Tony is intelligent but insecure, and uses both religion and the US as his personal crutches, but only after serious infighting with his conscience.
Blair’s decision to accept the “thankless role of special envoy” was, I believe, down to two factors: an inflated sense of his own ability to achieve success where others have ignominiously failed, bolstered by a degree of achievement in what was a somewhat different situation in Northern Ireland, and, the egotistical flattery of George Bush’s enthusiasm for determining him the “man for the job”.
It is here that Bush and Blair part company. Bush chose Blair for the position because he needs a mouthpiece in the region, and he assumes Blair will follow blindly, as he did with Iraq. Blair, on the other hand, believes he was chosen as the best man to succeed at the job. In a sense, that was true. Where both men differ, is in defining “the job”.
Any future for the Palestinians and the “peace process”, must now be viewed within the broader context of American foreign policy in the Middle East. A Democrat takeover in 2008 is unlikely to effect that policy substantially, given that both parties are controlled by the same corporate power machine. Top of the agenda is success in Iraq. An ignominious withdrawal from that country might not scupper plans completely, but would make furtherance of US policy much more difficult due to a heightened sense in the region that the US was not the invulnerable superpower it has claimed to be. Israel is still struggling from a similar problem after its debacle in Lebanon last year.
If the US can achieve subjugation in Iraq, it will have successfully surrounded both Iran and Syria with US bases. Applying the nutcrackers of political, and if necessary, military pressure on those regimes would be a relatively easy and straightforward task. It is unlikely either government could withstand such pressure for long, creating an instability in both nations that the US could manipulate to its own ends.
At this point, it is anticipated all resistance to US intervention would collapse, moderate governments like those of Egypt and Jordan would toe the line, and militarily the US/Israeli alliance would be sufficiently well-placed to impose a solution on the Palestinians they would have little choice but to accept.
Tony Blair’s job, as envisaged by Washington, is to keep alive the idea of a “peace process” for the interim, while skilfully steering a diplomatic course through the reefs and political shipwrecks of continued Israeli domination of Palestinian interests.
Blair’s view is likely to be somewhat different. He’s still young and ambitious enough to recognize that success in this arena would place him in an exalted position on the world stage. He is unlikely to follow George Bush’s bidding in the same way he capitulated over Iraq.
Andrew Phillips is right to say he will need to be bold, for like that legendary king of ancient times, he will have to stand firmly on the beach of international politics and command the tides of US/Israeli interventionism to ebb away before him.
Somehow, I doubt Tony Blair will find himself any more immortal than Canute.
Link to Andrew Phillip’s article HERE.
Filed under: Blair’s blunders