Where have you gone, Tony Blair?

Tony Blair gave a speech yesterday to the Council on Global Affairs. Almost to the day ten years previously,in April 1999, Blair spoke to the same group and laid out his ideas on "liberal interventionism". At the time you may remember, NATO was actively engaged in deposing Slobodan Milosoevic in the former Yugoslavia.  The attacks on 9/11 and the war in Iraq were still to come, of course, but Blair understood then -- as he does now -- that there are cases when military intervention is necessary to defend our interests. His concept of interventionism was the basis for Blair's steadfast support of the war in Iraq in 2003, and remains a key concept in his morally-centered vision of foreign policy. In a foreign policy establishment that has recently been taken over by idealists and apologists, Blair's view reminds me of how much I miss this courageous statesman on the world's stage. It is worth reading some of Blair's speech yesterday -- courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. It lays out clearly a view of the threat of Islamic radicalism that I completely agree with, and the importance of being resolute in combating it.  It is also the antithesis of Barack Obama's personality-driven foreign policy, where the power of Obama's simple presence is supposed to tame dictators and despots into "seeing the light".

"President Obama's reaching out to the Muslim world at the start of a new American administration is welcome, smart, and can play a big part in defeating the threat we face. It disarms those who want to say we made these enemies, that if we had been less confrontational they would have been different. It pulls potential moderates away from extremism.

But it will expose, too, the delusion of believing that there is any alternative to waging this struggle to its conclusion. The ideology we are fighting is not based on justice. That is a cause we can understand. And world-wide these groups are adept, certainly, at using causes that indeed are about justice, like Palestine. Their cause, at its core, however, is not about the pursuit of values that we can relate to; but in pursuit of values that directly contradict our way of life. They don't believe in democracy, equality or freedom. They will espouse, tactically, any of these values if necessary. But at heart what they want is a society and state run on their view of Islam. They are not pluralists. They are the antithesis of pluralism. And they don't think that only their own community or state should be like that. They think the world should be governed like that.

In other words, there may well be groups, or even Governments, that can be treated with, and with whom we can reach an accommodation. Negotiation and persuasion can work and should be our first resort. If they do, that's great, which is why if Hamas were to accept the principle of a peaceful two state solution, they could be part of the process agreeing it [sic]. But the ideology, as a movement within Islam, has to be defeated. It is incompatible not with "the West" but with any society of open and tolerant people and that in particular means the many open and tolerant Muslims."

This should be required reading in the salons of Europe, the halls of the UN and the corridors of the White House. It is critical for our security that we are able to speak openly and honestly about the nature of the threats arrayed against us. Diplomacy has its place, but comes with very real limits when interests, values and ideology are diametrically opposed. And while the left may believe that we can find some "rapport" and "accommodation" with Islamic radicals who seek to create an Islamic world, the reality is that this is a clash of civilizations that will have only one winner.

It is "us" or "them". This Blair understands. Pity that our president doesn't get it.