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A splendid lesson for Blair

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses,
And all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

- Traditional English rhyme

Vladimir Putin, the hero of Chechnya, has in essence told Tony Blair to take his attempt to paper over the disagreements regarding Iraq, now that the allied takeover is a fait accomplis , and stick it where the sun does not shine.

Moreover, the French, Germans and Belgians are going to continue to work towards a new ‘European’ alternative to NATO aimed at reducing US influence, whilst all the time keeping a straight face and claiming they have no hostility to the USA, of course.

This is all truly excellent news.

Now whilst it was clear that Tony Blair was willing to go a long way in the interests of a return to the ante-bellum political status of seeming harmony with ‘Europe’, the USA is highly unlikely to have much desire to take such a conciliatory position. Blair however was obviously willing to let slide the fact the French and Russians hurt him quite badly politically by scuppering his attempts to get a UN imprimatur for the liberation of Iraq.

My big worry post-Iraq was that the Axis of Weasels and their Russian cohort, having failed in their diplomatic objectives of safeguarding their economic sweetheart deals with the Ba’athists in Iraq and pandering to domestic anti-Americanism, would avoid paying a price for these positions. I thought the key to their ‘damage limitation’ would be to play on Tony Blair’s manifest desire to “be at the centre of Europe” whilst at the same time remaining best buddies with the United States in his ‘warrior prince’ role.

They would use this huge psychological weak spot to get Blair back on-side and eager to be a ‘Good European’, leveraging the fact the US manifestly ‘owes Tony a big one’ to mitigate any political and economic cost to them of their placing the wealth of the Elf Aquitaine Oil company and its Russian counterparts over the lives of Iraqis living under Ba’athism, not to mention US geo-political interests.

Well I am delighted to see that are not nearly such devious political operators as it is so often claimed. Putin in particular continues to confirm my views far from being the wily fox that pundits describe; he is in fact a true dunce with delusions of his own importance as he presides over a basket case economy with an imploding society that is drinking itself to death on homemade vodka.

That Tony Blair’s world view has received such a public kick in the bollocks from the people who should logically need his good will and support at this point in time is…simply splendid news. It may even start to break through the cloying desire in the Prime Minister’s head for logic-free €uro-harmony, that the world changed forever on September 11th 2001. He can stay with the dynamic Americans and spend his political capital wisely or he can piss it away with sclerotic Old Europe. He cannot do both and maybe even he will start to see that now as he heads back from Russia with his tail between his legs.

17 comments to A splendid lesson for Blair

  • Andy Duncan

    Go Perry, Go!!! :-)

    I think though that a Benthamite like Blair will still see the crucibles of fascism, communism and socialism (ie. France and Germany) as a spiritual home.

    After all, where else has a fluent french speaker got to go? He’s only fifty, with El Gordo asking him all the time when he’s going to GET OUT of Number 10. The only realistic route up on the pole is the European Presidency, and the only way to reach that is via Britain’s membership of the €uro (spit, hiss, boo) and its €uro Constitution for officious bureaucrats to lord it even more over us serfs (Of the Bureaucrat, By the Bureaucrat, For the Bureaucrat).

    The only other alternatives, to borrow some ideas from Matthew Paris, are:

    • Ditch the Wicked Witch, fly to New York on a one-way ticket, marry Hilary Clinton (or even Bill :), and become the Democrat candidate against Bush in the next Presidential election.
    • Cross the floor of the House of Commons, and lead the Tories to victory against Premier Brown in 2005.

    But then like that similarly talented dictator before him, Caesar, he may, as you imply, be running out of options. Excellent! :-)

  • Fred

    Note to Tony:

    Talk to GWB, join a revitalized EFTA, dump the EU, get NAFTA to recognize EFTA as a peer group.

    Have a real NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement) our man Tony as Lord High Trade Dude.

    Tony gets a new sinecure, the EU is marginalized, and once we get around to kicking out the UN there’s a splendid location available for a HQ in NYC.

    Game, set, match!

  • Liberty Belle

    Fred, love it! Lord High Trade Dude! Problem is, Blair’s not for free trade or free enterprise. He is a statist, centrist petty regulator down to his toes, so this dude won’t hunt.

    Andy Duncan – Again, not realistic enough. Only native-born Americans can run for the presidency. So that’s out. (Also, Blair’s not a fluent French speaker by a mile – although he’s passable enough to run for the governorship of Louisiana. Nice governor’s mansion, and it’s far enough away from Britain, but it’s not, internationally speaking, high profile.) To have a chance at his glittering ambition of being appointed the unelected president dude of an uncountry – “Europe” – he will have to sell 59m freeborn Britons into EU slavery through the “European” constitution and divest of them of the sovereignty they have fought and died for for 1,000 or more years. OK, that won’t bother him, but it will bother the 59m.

    I have a cunning plan. A really big country which looks like him – bland – and thinks like him – predictable – has terminal pacifist and lecture-ish tendencies … Ladies and Gentlemen of the Samizdata, I give you … Canada! How about premier dude of Canada? That way he can go to Quebec and pretend- in French – he’s on their side, go to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and pretend he’s on their side too, go to the Calgary Stampede in jeans and Western boots, visit Indian reservations dressed in a headdress, attend Chinese New Year ceremonies in Vancouver dressed as Mandarin Delight, pal out with Peter Jennings, pretend to enjoy listening to Celine Dion sing in French, all the while being “at the heart of Canada”. This is a job made for Tony Blair, and it shouldn’t be too hard to wrest it away from the even more vacuous Jean Chretien!

  • S. Weasel

    I’m getting pretty annoyed at the way this episode has been written up in the media as Putin’s “humiliation” of Blair. Isn’t Blair the only person qualified to comment on whether he felt humiliation or…something else? After all, it’s Putin who’s done something stupid and ill-mannered.

    I don’t hold much hope that the incident will change Blair, though. He’s an internationalist in his very bones and I suspect the EU is his retirement plan.

  • T. Hartin

    While it is up to Blair alone, of course, to determine whether he “felt” humiliated, humiliation does have an external or objective dimension in addition to the internal subjective dimension. We are all perfectly qualified to opine on whether Putin humiliated Blair in this latter sense.

  • You wonder what is going to happen when the penny finally drops:

    Tone: Alistair, we’ve been shafted. There is no way we can deal with these people.

    It would represent the total collapse of a policy. The only recent example I can think of is what happened after Black Wednesday. After that the Major government never recovered. I wonder if the same will happen with Blair.

    You are quite right about Russia. It was obvious to everyone that the French were being spectacularly stupid but now Russia is following them. It is spectacularly difficult to see what they are playing at.

  • S. Weasel

    Except that an objective third-party assessment of humiliation usually requires that the party of the first part has clearly and overwhelmingly scored on, triumphed over or utterly defeated the party of the second part. All I see here is a boorish display by one head of state to another.

    If I ‘humiliated’ everyone I was rude to, this office would look like that boom shot of Confederate casualties in Gone with the Wind.

  • David Gillies

    Spot on, Perry. Putin really needs to be taken down a peg. Russia is basically Belgium with nuclear weapons, and the sooner they realise it the better.

  • mark holland

    Point of information.

    Humpty Dumpty was actually a cannon mounted atop the walls of the besieged Royalist city of Colchester during the civil war.

  • So… after two World Wars in which the UK and USA saved the VichyFrogs, BelgianWaffles and the Imperial Speedbump of Luxembourg from the military of the Riech… now they are going to create an alliance…

    Against who?

    With what military?

    They’ve been enjoying the benefits of American protection of their borders and exploiting that advantage with low tax expenditures and lame support of NATO…

    So just when were these Socialists going to start spending money on the make-work program that is their military services?

    And just when were the magic fairies going to start sprinkling them with competence?

    42 commando could roll over the lot.

  • Des

    Is there any truth in the rumour the new alliance is to be called the SBTO. Speed Bump Treaty Organisation.

  • I suppose Blair felt he had to try. Interesting point, Andy. Being reasonably good at a language can seriously distort your foreign-policy perspective. It’s entirely natural to exaggerate the importance of a culture whose language you’ve learned.

    I reckon France has been taken far too seriously for over a century, largely because we English-speakers (mainly through inertia) keep having it taught to our schoolchildren as a first foreign language. I reckon English-speakers’ inherited preference for French as their first and usually only foreign language enormously boosts the profile of French and France worldwide.

    If the US is really cross about the weasel business, they should decouple French from school syllabuses across America, substituting Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Russian. Doing more to downgrade and substitute for metric measures (France’s single biggest diplomatic trump card, much as we tend to forget) would also hit where it hurts.

    Please forgive the self-promotion!

  • edwardVT

    It appears that Putin listened to his Generals and why he would do that after Afghanistan and Chechnya escapes me. They have a rather poor win/loose percentage, to say the least. Evidently, the brutal Iraqi summer heat would lead us into a quagmire, the body count would rise and America would retreat in humiliation. Or so the Russian advisors convinced Saddam. And Putin bought into this fantasy.

    The British and American Military are at least a generation ahead of every other military force and the distance increases every day.

    Russian Intelligence has placed Putin in a very dangerous position; should an attempt now be made to assassinate President Bush, Putin and Russia are history.

  • edwardVT

    It appears that Putin listened to his Generals and why he would do that after Afghanistan and Chechnya escapes me. They have a rather poor win/loose percentage, to say the least. Evidently, the brutal Iraqi summer heat would lead us into a quagmire, the body count would rise and America would retreat in humiliation. Or so the Russian advisors convinced Saddam. And Putin bought into this fantasy.

    The British and American Military are at least a generation ahead of every other military force and the distance increases every day.

    Russian Intelligence has placed Putin in a very dangerous position; should an attempt now be made to assassinate President Bush, Putin and Russia are history.

  • edwardVT

    It appears that Putin listened to his Generals and why he would do that after Afghanistan and Chechnya escapes me. They have a rather poor win/loose percentage, to say the least. Evidently, the brutal Iraqi summer heat would lead us into a quagmire, the body count would rise and America would retreat in humiliation. Or so the Russian advisors convinced Saddam. And Putin bought into this fantasy.

    The British and American Military are at least a generation ahead of every other military force and the distance increases every day.

    Russian Intelligence has placed Putin in a very dangerous position; should an attempt now be made to assassinate President Bush, Putin and Russia are history.

  • Andrew Duffin

    AHEM!

    S.Weasel: “All I see here is a boorish display by one head of state to another. ”

    Tony Blair is NOT the head of state.

    He may think he is. He may behave as if he were. He may wish he were. But he isn’t.

  • As far as first foreign language in the US is concenred, you missed the most likely one: Spanish. It has the most utility also, since there are a lot of Spanish-speaking people in the US, throughout the country.

    It certainly would have been a lot more useful for me than the French I had so much trouble with in High School, as I have several friends and relatives who speak it.