Very Tony Diplomacy
By Jim Fletcher
After careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion
that Tony Blair is a good guy. The former British prime minister recently
converted to his wife’s faith, Catholicism. This after a lifetime (of course) in
the Anglican Church.
Evidently, while a student at Oxford in the 1970s,
Blair had a conversion experience. I take him at his word.
Since stepping down last year, after a decade leading Great Britain, Blair has not
stopped his diplomatic activities, particularly as they regard the Middle East. Like all international diplomats,
he advocates for a Palestinian state.
On a layover in London a few years ago,
I walked around the city. Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster
Abbey…all impressive places. Yet the thing that caught my eye was a statue of
Winston Churchill. The English “bulldog” struck a defiant pose, as he did in
life, much to the eternal chagrin of dictators in Europe.
Sadly, a group of anti-war protestors, awash in
appeasement, stood next to Churchill’s image. They shouted long and loud about
the evil George Bush and his foray into innocent Iraq.
They held banners decrying all war. I looked closely at Churchill’s bronze face
to see if tears were rolling down his cheeks.
Devastated in the 19th century by Darwinian
philosophy and the clergy’s own “emergent” movement — valiantly opposed by no
less than Charles Spurgeon — England today reflects that slippery slope away
from the authority of scripture. Church attendance is in single digits and many
old churches are being converted into mosques.
In a word, the British have no discernment left. They are
pacifists to such a degree that they drive from office a man (Blair) who
actually understands the threat from Islam, even if he isn’t always so public
about it. Any British premier gets deluxe intelligence reports every day, and
Blair well understood the viciousness of radical Islam.
Yet his approach today is instructive for those of us who
struggle to understand our world. There is definitely a direct link between the
trashing of the Bible in Europe,
and the lack of resolve in confronting Islam today. For if one does not believe
in evil, or original sin, then one can wrongly conclude that bad people aren’t
really bad; they’re just misunderstood.
war leaders a couple generations ago knew how to win: kill as many Nazis as
possible. Truman knew the Japanese military wouldn’t stop unless it was
devastated. William Sherman understood in 1864 that the Confederacy would
regroup into a guerrilla force for years unless the South was brought to its
None of these men liked war. None of them enjoyed seeing
people die. Franklin Roosevelt didn’t. Ike didn’t. Sherman and Grant didn’t. But
they figured out that Western civilization was at risk. That is, a much worse
scenario was on the horizon if they didn’t stop wars that were forced on them.
Today’s leaders generally tend to feel that man is
basically good. Evidently, Jimmy Carter believes this (unless the subject is the
Jews). It is not a stretch to say that people who have either been taught that
the Old Testament is myth, or simply weren’t taught anything about it, will not
believe in original sin. They do not believe any such events took place.
Therefore, man is in position to shape himself and his fellow man.
This is a false view of history. It is also a very
dangerous world view. If one believes Palestinian leaders can be reasoned with,
one is deluding oneself. If one believes “back-channel” talks with Hamas can
lead to something positive, one is deluded. Hamas is infected with evil and
thrives on the weakness of its perceived enemies.
This is the problem with Tony Blair. His Christianity — I
think — focuses on social justice issues. In other words, it is a form of
“liberal” Christianity. It is a problem of discernment.
His forays into Palestinian politics were recently featured
in Time magazine. Blair visited Bethlehem, stayed in a
hotel there, and met with leaders. He apparently sincerely believes that a
Palestinian state and the supposed economic prosperity will usher in peace.
Interestingly, the actor Omar Sharif recently spat on that view, that democracy
can take hold in the Middle East.
He even went so far as to say that, at age 76, he consults the local tribal
chief to mediate disputes. Omar Sharif essentially lives in the twelfth century!
As does the larger Arab world.
Yet for all the evidence to the contrary, Blair, Barack
Obama, and others continue to insist that negotiations will bear fruit in the
This is very much a clash of Western and Eastern
civilizations, my friends. We can only hope that John McCain has a semblance of
discernment. It is certain his opponent does not.
There is a lot at stake.