From the Financial Times
Mr Blair should recognise his errors and go
By Rodric Braithwaite, UK ambassador to Moscow 1988-92 and then foreign policy adviser to John Major and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee
Aspectre is stalking British television, a frayed and waxy zombie straight from Madame Tussaud’s. This one, unusually, seems to live and breathe. Perhaps it comes from the Central Intelligence Agency’s box of technical tricks, programmed to spout the language of the White House in an artificial English accent.
There is another possible explanation. Perhaps what we see on television is the real Tony Blair, the man who believes that he and his friend alone have the key to the horrifying problems of the Middle East. At first he argued against a ceasefire in Lebanon. Then, after another Israeli airstrike killed dozens of Lebanese women and children, he finally admitted, in California ‘ reluctantly, grudgingly and with a host of preconditions ‘ that military force alone would not do the trick, and now seems to have told his people to look for something better.
The catastrophe in Lebanon is the latest act of a tragedy rooted in European anti-Semitism and in the expulsion of an Arab people from their ancestral home. Both sides claim the right to self-defence. Neither hesitates to use force to pursue aims it regards as legitimate. No single event is the proximate cause of the current mayhem ‘ neither the Israeli onslaught on Lebanon, nor the Hizbollah rockets, nor the Israeli assassination of Palestinian leaders, nor the suicide bombings. The causes go back in almost infinite regression. In the desperate pursuit of short-term tactical gain, both sides lose sight of their own long-term interests.