In an interview ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, speaking with Charles Moore of the Telegraph, discussed the unfolding reality of the Middle East.
Blair admitted after 9/11 he underestimated the bad “narrative” of Islamists that the West oppresses Islam and Muslims.
Any objective reading of recent history indicates, however, the extent to which the West in accommodating both has leaned perilously in appeasing the enemies of freedom and democracy. Among all western leaders, Blair is the most clear thinking on Islamism and Islamists. This is strikingly evident from his memoir, A Journey: My Political Life (2010), in which he devotes considerable space to the subject.
Blair confided in his interview with Moore that Islamists seek “supremacy, not co-existence,” and that the “West is asleep on this issue” even as it poses the greatest challenge in our time.
The extent to which the West is asleep, or unserious, about this subject is symbolized by the Huma Abedin flap in Washington. This flap is the portal through which we can take measure of how the West has been lulled into embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, and how multiculturalism has become a tool for Islamists to disarm the gullible westerners choking in guilt over their past history of colonialism.
What is not new — and Blair is well aware of this — is that the West has a record of being willingly lulled by its enemies into a false sense of security. The decade of the 1930s stands out as the West’s most ignominious period of appeasement in the past century, of wilfully ignoring the rise and consequences of Nazism.
But it was not only with the Nazis, there was also the woeful gullibility in dealing with Stalin and the Soviet Union. The KGB files smuggled to Britain by Vasili Mitrokhin and disclosed in his book co-authored with Christopher Andrew, The Sword and the Shield (1999), reveal how deep and far went the penetration by Soviet agents inside governments in western democracies.
Klaus Fuchs, a German physicist and Communist, for instance was, as Mitrokhin points out, the most valuable Soviet spy recruited in Britain in 1941. He would be the most important Soviet asset as a member of the British team of scientists sent to work on the Manhattan project in Los Alamos, and his contribution to the Soviet bomb as Moscow’s spy was invaluable.
Then there was, among others in the U.S., Alger Hiss in the State Department. Whittaker Chambers — an American Communist and Soviet agent who defected — divulged all he knew about Soviet espionage in America to Adolf Berle, assistant secretary of state and president Franklin Roosevelt’s adviser on internal security, on the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939.
When Berle briefed Roosevelt, according to Mitrokhin, the president “seems to have dismissed the whole idea of espionage rings within his administration as absurd.”
Hiss remained in government and went to Yalta in February 1945 for the Big Three conference.
There Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill discussed post-war Europe’s future and, as KGB files disclose, Stalin came out smiling, having been briefed ahead of time courtesy of Hiss.
The West seems destined to repeat its folly.