Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Tony Blair's 'Neocon' Globalism


Attached to much – or all - neocon foreign policy is a particular strand of globalism. Or, at the very least, that's certainly the case when it comes to Tony Blair's position on foreign policy.

Now I'm fully aware that the notion of globalismis a favourite of many people - on both the Left and Right - who are often deemed to be paranoid conspiracy-theorists. However, when you read what Tony Blair has to say on these matters, you may well come to think that they (or at least some of them) have a point. (Tony Blair is kind of British version of the United Nation's MauriceStrong.)

The problem is that anti-globalists say different things. For example, some say that's it's all a “capitalist global conspiracy”; whereas others say that it's a “communist global conspiracy”. Indeed, according to some conspiracy-theorists, many of the conspiracists who say mutually-contradictory things are actually in league with one another. (This is a variant on the unfalsifiable Protocols of the Elders of Zion meme that Jewish communists, Jewish capitalists and Jewish whatevers are all in league with one another.)

Conspiracy-theorists about globalisation also give different reasons as to why politicians and others are “globalists”.In addition, all sorts of mutually-contradictory groups and individuals are classed as globalists.

Despite saying all that, even if many claims about globalism contradict each other, that may just mean that various globalisms (as it were) are at work at the same time; though without necessarily being in league with one another. In other words, some globalists may be attempting to bring about X; whereas others may be attempting to bring about not-X.

Tony Blair's Globalism

Tony Blair often uses the word “globalisation”(if not the word “globalism”) himself.

More specifically, Blair believes that the “clash [is] not so much between civilisations”. Instead, it's a result of“the force and consequence of globalisation” (346) itself.

Blair explicitly committed himself to globalism at the Labour Party conferenceof 2001. At the time he said:

"The issue is not how to stop globalisation. The issue is how we use the power of community to combine it with justice....

".... Because the alternative to globalisation is isolation.

"Confronted by this reality, round the world, nations are instinctively drawing together.... In Europe, the most integrated groping of all, we are now fifteen nations, with another twelve countries negotiating to join, and more beyond that...”(365/66)

In terms of Tony Blair's own strand of globalism, he realised that in order to encourage the fight for globalisation, you have to convince people that's there's a globe to fight for in the first place.

This is how Blair sees that globe:

"All around the globe, the new technology –the Internet, computers, mobile phones, mass travel and communication– was opening the world up, casting people together, mixing cultures, races, faiths in a vast melting pot of human interaction.”

What Blair says about globalisation – in the above- actually sounds like sales-speak for a global company of some kind.

For a start, take the “new technology” he speaks so glowingly of. Why does it necessarily work towards “casting people together” and the rest? Osama bin Laden, for example, used the new technology in the caves of Afghanistan to plot mayhem and destruction. The Internet generally is also a hotbed of radical and extreme Islam.
And as for “mixing cultures, races, faiths”, in the literally dozens of Muslim ghettoes in the UK, there's no evidence at all any of that. Instead there has been what has amounted to the (non-violent) ethnic cleansing of white people (or non-Muslims generally) from these areas; alongside their accompanying Islamisation.

Everyone Wants Blairite Globalism
Neocon globalists also have to convince people that every person on the planet – apart from cartoon baddies – wants freedom and democracy. Indeed if that weren't the case, then political globalisation could never be achieved (not even in theory).

And it's here that Tony Blair is at his most philosophically, historically and politically illiterate.

Basically, Blair doesn't believe that human rights, democracy and freedom are Western creations. Or, alternatively, hedoes believe that (deep down); though it doesn't matter now because everyone around today wants these things.

Or as Blair himself puts it:

"There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values, or Western values...”

Now some of that is just plain false: historically false. In other words, what Blair says isn't the case, is (largely) the case.

And even if it's true that “others” do now “love freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law”, it's still categorically and historically the case that these things are “a product of our culture”. Sure, at certain times and in certain places certain non-Western societies might have had systems and cultures which approximated to ones which valued freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law... it's just that I can't really think of any.

Tony Blair then goes on to argue for globalism or universalism. He says:

"Members of Congress, ours are not Western values, they are the universal values of the human spirit.”

Again, either this is historical illiteracy on Blair's part or he's simply letting sentiment, desire and rhetoric get in the way of fact, history and even in the way of human nature.

However, as I said before, we can indeed make a distinction here between the historical reality of “Western values”and the fact that today many non-Western peoples do indeed want to embrace these values.

Blair claims that

"anywhere, any time ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police”.

Now I don't want to be too pedantic here because this was a speech given to Congress; not to a gathering of philosophers or political theorists. Nonetheless, even if all “ordinary people”do want some of these things, it doesn't follow that they want all of them.

For example, of course it's the case that most people don't like “the rule of secret police” (though even that's a generalisation). On the other hand, it may not even be the case that most people are against “dictatorship”. In fact, in many cases, they're not and that has been the case throughout the 20thcentury and indeed throughout the world.

The other problem is that many of the peoples subject to what Blair calls “tyranny” or a “dictatorship” won't see the regimes they live under as being either a tyrannies or dictatorships.

In the end, then, one gets the feeling that Tony Blair isn't actually arguing about what is the case. (He's certainly wrong about what has been the case.) He's arguing about what should be the case. To Blair, it's not really that non-Western and Muslim peoples “want to be free”: it's that theyshould want to be free.

Hence the neocon attempted “imposition of democracy and freedom” (Tony Blair's own words) on the almost hopeless case of the Muslim and Arab world...

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