Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Tony Blair: 'digging down' + 'gripping it' « Previous | |Next »
October 10, 2010

In Preacher on a Tank in the London Review of Books David Runciman reviews Tony Blair's A Journey. Blair had always puzzled but 'preacher on a tank' describes my understanding of Blair. Blair, for me talked like a social liberal, but acted like a Conservative.

RowsonM Blairindock.jpg Martin Rowson

On Blair's account he 'drills down’ when faced with a seemingly intractable problem. He, means by this, being willing to go back to first principles, ‘behind and beneath the conventional’ analysis, and if necessary to look at the problem from a completely new angle to find the key that would unlock a political problem, and make all the pieces fit together. It is joining the dots by going back to first principles.

After drilling down by thinking through the problem Blair then grips it, rather than merely ‘managing’ it, which it is never enough. Gripping it enables you to begin the process of turning things around.

So how did 'digging down' and 'gripping it' function with respect to the war on Iraq? Runciman says that Blair's:

analysis of 9/11 was ... wrong, but Blair is still a long way from being able to admit this. He accepts that it was an act of deliberate provocation, designed to draw the West into war, and he recognises that Western politicians had a real choice: they could have chosen not to be provoked. But going down that route would have meant simply ‘managing’ the problem, instead of confronting it. It would also have meant disaggregating the threat of global terrorism into its component parts, rather than seeing it as part of a greater whole. Blair can’t bring himself to do that.

Drilling down here means grasping the greater whole. Joining up the dots for Blair was 'global terrorism'.

Runciman continues:

Blair’s mistake after 9/11 was to try to grip things that were not grippable, certainly not by him.
First in Afghanistan, then Iraq, he vastly overestimated his ability to control what would happen. There were far too many unknowns, and nothing he or his experts could do to magic them away. Moreover, these weren’t his wars, they were America’s, and they were going to happen with him or without him. In those circumstances, his ability to exert any sort of grip was negligible.

Blair makes a great deal of the closeness of his relationship with Bush, and describes how Bush regularly consulted with him and consistently impressed him with his grasp of the big issues. Yet he supplies no evidence that Bush ever actually listened to what he was saying or followed his advice. Blair was ignored by Bush. Blair ends up grasping illusions.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:28 AM | | Comments (6)


Many thanks. That is a mighty thread starter.
He works on the same principles of infantile reactive adhocracy as Dr. Frankenstein or a comittee- in the end the camel or whatever dysfunctional phenomena that arises from this delusive thinking becomes the indictment for wishful thinking and failure to face facts- self-will run riot, particularly in the inability to see globalisation and the US, for what they are.

You mean Blair truly imagined the yanks took notice of what he said? That's really sad.

I wonder if our own little Churchill wannabe had similar delusions. Probably.

Ken... I suspect our littlest digger was a lot more pragmatic. He simply saw it as a way to wedge the federal opposition and buy some favours in Washington DC.

Our bloke loved to use the (existential) fear angle and then pose for a few happy snaps with the troops.

I understood that Howard + Co outsourced strategic thinking re the war on terror to the Americans, and that they were only interested in posing for photos with the troops.

Good 4 Corners tonight also.
First of a two-part series purporting to tell the story of the Occupation from the Iraqi point of view.
From what I saw tonight, there is enough up to suggest that we won't be welcome back in Iraq any time soon, unfortunately.

Blaire is a war criminal and should be in Prison along with his buddy Bush – these kind of vitriol attacks are from someone who is scared stiff of justice knocking on his door and is desperately trying to divert attention. He thinks if Jones can do it so can I. The man has no integrity and no moral fiber that alone fiber at all.