Tony Blair: "The boldest liar…also the best"

Premier’s speech charts the same reckless course on Iraq–how long can he hide from war crimes charges for illegal aggression in Iraq he helped to lead and still can’t assess honestly?

Tony Blair lives in a country bound by the International Criminal Court. It is hard to imagine, a year hence when dislodged from 10 Downing Street, that he will long be able to escape indictment for war crimes. In the meantime, he tries to make every last annual event a little more dramatic for being the last. This week the event was the annual foreign policy royal something-like-that speech, where Blair ditched the “red ties” that George W. Bush likes so much in favor of some absurd white bow tie, an English flag, and the same old bluster and lies on foreign policy. As Juan Cole explains on his blog:

“UK PM Tony Blair’s speech on Monday, which had been bruited as a change of course in foreign policy, struck me as just a ‘stay the course’ standard bromide. He blamed Iran for instability in Iraq, whereas most of that comes from the anti-Iranian Sunni Arabs. He blamed Iran for supporting Lebanon, even though he had done nothing to stop the brutal Israeli bombing of south Beirut. He just gave the standard Bush speech, which even Bush may not be giving long.”

Blair is one of the great political minds of this era, and his maneuvering is not to be easily dismissed as simply daft or foolish, as Bush often seemed. David Runciman, writing in the London Review of Books , shows why Tony Blair is such a success in the political climate in which he exists–or to put it less modestly, in the political climate that Tony Blair and Bill Clinton largely created:

“In politics, it is tempting to think that a lie is a lie is a lie, and since everyone is at it, all that matters is what you can get away with. But that is to do Tony Blair a disservice. He is not simply the boldest liar, he is also the best, in that he understands better than anyone the new rules of political fabrication. He comprehensively outmanoeuvred Gordon Brown in Manchester by being truer both to himself and to the spirit of contemporary politics in the way he stretched the truth. Blair was sincere in the lies he told. Brown, by contrast, came across as a straightforward hypocrite.”

[photo: AP via Yahoo]

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