So says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. And he makes it all very simple and Manichaean: there are “two elements in Islam: one wanted to work with the West; the other did not.” We just have to work with the one that wants to work with the West.
Of course! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?
Anything in his talk about why the “extremists” are so popular, or is that assumed to be a simple matter of policy and reaction to Western foreign policy? Did Blair even get close to mentioning the fact that there is a traditional, deeply rooted idea in Islamic texts and teachings, that Muslims must wage war against and subjugate unbelievers — regardless of what those unbelievers have done or not done? I am sure that he didn’t, despite its relevance to his point.
But until analysts grapple with that fact, nothing is more certain than that the global jihad will continue, no matter which smiling moderate is feted in Western capitals today.
“Battle on Islam heart of Mideast crisis””Blair,” by John Nery for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 23 (thanks to Wilkie):
MANILA, Philippines — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in Manila for a series of leadership conferences, used an open forum at the Ateneo de Manila University to make what he called “a larger point” about the turmoil in the Middle East.
“There is essentially one battle going on, and it is a battle about Islam.”…
He told a sympathetic audience that the “larger point” was the right framework with which to understand the pivotal, conflict-ridden region.
Blair said there were two elements in Islam: one wanted to work with the West; the other did not.
The right approach to peace and development in the Middle East, then, would be to “partner with the modernizing and moderate element,” he said.
He made his remarks in answer to a question about how he made major decisions, such as joining the US-led Coalition of the Willing in invading Iraq.
He answered the Iraq question first, and then broadened his view to include the titanic struggle for the future of Islam.
Referring to the moderates doing battle with extremists, he said: “We gotta make sure those guys win.”