I’ve just listened to Tony Blair’s 10 September interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Here are his main points:
- There have been “certain significant gains” in the war against Radical Islamism (RI) but “we’ve still got a problem and a threat that still is with us and it’s not over”.
- RI is an ideology and a global movement that is “very broad and very deep” – much bigger than just Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Look at what’s happening in Nigeria, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen. “Don’t think these people aren’t out there and perfectly able and willing to attack us if they could”.
- It is “deeply naiive” to believe that the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has provoked RI. “We did not radicalise them”.
- In this struggle the West is weakened by “what I call a wretched posture of apology and defeatism”. The security forces, who work heroically to protect us from attack, don’t get the recognition or credit they deserve.
- Iran is a big problem, and military attacks may be needed to stop it acquiring a nuclear weapon. However, an Iraq-style invasion of Iran would not work because “Iran is a quite different country from Iraq, quite different people, the state of society is wholly different there”.
- “[The war of terror] ends when we defeat the ideology … I think it will take a generation, but the way to defeat this ideology is ultimately by a better idea and we have it, which is a way of life based on openness, democracy, freedom and the rule of law”.