A strange air was over the Parliamentary debate about military action on Libya. Cameron, who once wrote a critique on neo-conservatism, spoke mellifluously on the subject of intervention and defending British interests aboard. The Project for A New American Century advocated such stance on foreign affairs.
The Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Ed Miliband, defending the Right To Protect under the United Nations Charter and justified military action, in order to defend and promote freedom of the individual. More surprisingly, Sir Ming Campbell made reference to Blair’s infamous Chicago speech to morally argue our duty to use hard power as a potential force for good.
No one wanted to admit to one potent fact; Blair’s liberal interventionism is admirable and agreeable in its most purist form. But Tony’s position as the avatar for it means no sensible politician will publicly admit support. That is why we saw lukewarm and coded, cryptic and subtle references during the debate.
Regime change is the main principle of the Libyan conflict; the no-fly zone is only a means or product to achieve a greater goal. Targeted assassination is controversial, and arguably illegal, under international law. But if an opportunity arises the coalition would ‘take the shot.’
This is similar to Iraq in all but an invasion and occupation.
Blair might be a great antagonist and a divisive character, but all three leaders of our main political parties see him as a ‘master.’ Even Nick Clegg, during his trip to America, confessed to Good Morning America that he agreed with Blair on “many things.” None of them questioned what he did as Prime Minister – it was the means he did it, that they objected to. And foreign affairs is a prime example.
Nick Clegg said Libya is not another Iraq and that is why he supports it. Translation: If Blair got authority from the United Nations I would have supported military action against Iraq. So would’ve Ed Miliband, too.
Yesterday was an endorsement of Blair’s final public speech before ceasing to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain had to be able, and ready, to use military force in order to defend and maintain her position as a world power. Only 13 MPs voted against that yesterday; the rest rapturously applauded it and Tony Blair.