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The British empire in 1922


A New Empire forged by the Royal heads of Europe

Robert Cooper

European Stability Initiative

ESI is a non-profit research and policy institute, created in recognition of the need for independent, in-depth analysis of the complex issues involved in promoting stability and prosperity in Europe.

ESI was founded in July 1999 by a multi-national group of practitioners and analysts with extensive experience in the regions it studied. ESI's experienced and multidisciplinary team is committed to provide policy makers with relevant strategic analysis.

In its first five years of operation, ESI has had a substantial impact on international policy towards South Eastern Europe. Its advice was sought regularly by a range of policy makers across the region. In order to promote discussion and debate among the policy community all ESI publications are widely distributed and available on its website free of charge. ESI's efforts depend on the contributions of governments, corporations and private individuals to fund its activities. - esiweb.org

Post-Industrial Society And The Authoritarian Temptation

Another member of this think tank is Bush's speechwriter...
He coined the phrase 'Axis Of Evil'

click picture to read pdf of Fukiyamas Statebuilding 101

"Among ourselves we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law, but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle."

"What we need is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle."

"The post-modern EU offers a vision of cooperative empire, a common liberty and a common security without the ethnic domination and centralised absolutism to which past empires have been subject, but also without the ethnic exclusiveness that is the hallmark of the nation state inappropriate in an era without borders an era without borders and unworkable in regions such as the Balkans."
European stability initiative

For Queen & Country:

Princes to Create States, Republics to Maintain Them.

To many readers, Machiavelli is best known as the author of The Prince, and hence thought of as an advocate of absolutism. But such an in interpretation captures only half of Machiavelli's political thought. In his Discourses, Machiavelli makes clear that the authority of an absolute monarch is appropriate to some circumstances - the conquest of states, or their total revolution - but in the long run, only republican government can generate security and prosperity:

"And if princes are superior to populaces in drawing up laws, codes of civic life, statutes, and new institutions, the populace is so superior in sustaining what has been instituted that it indubitably adds to the glory of those who have instituted them."

see also:

The Global Europe project

aims to develop realistic recommendations on how the EU can become an effective liberal force in world politics. In spite of recent progress on Iran and the Convention's proposal for an EU 'foreign minister', co-ordinated European interventions in international affairs typically remain more declaratory than effective. Global Europe will focus on the strategic, economic and political capacities available to the EU member-states and the policies required to enhance their efficacy.
Global Europe-The foreign policy centre

Robert Cooper

Blairs Neo-liberal imperialist guru

Robert Cooper is at the centre of the debate on contemporary liberal imperialism and plays an important role in shaping an emerging European foreign policy. Today he is Javier Solana's Director-General for common foreign and security policy in the European Council. Previously he was "Tony Blair's foreign policy guru" (the British Observer).

In a widely discussed essay in The Observer on the post-modern state Cooper discusses the security implications of having both post-modern states (where security is maintained through transparency and interdependence, as in the European Union) and modern, or traditional states (such as India, Pakistan and China). The post-modern world does nor rely on the traditional balance of power. The modern world does: "if there is to be stability, it will come from a balance among the aggressive forces." Cooper sees the challenge to the postmodern world in getting used to "double standards":

"Among ourselves we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law, but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle."

In addition to the world of states, however, there is also the pre-modern world of failed states: "In such areas chaos is the norm and war is a way of life. In so far as there is government it operates in a way similar to an organised crime syndicate." This may trigger a "defensive imperialism":

"What we need is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle."

This is what has led to the creation of "voluntary UN protectorates" in Bosnia and Kosovo. These set the Balkans apart from other European countries. While elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe the EU is engaged in a programme of enlargement, the Balkans remain "a special case":

"The post-modern EU offers a vision of cooperative empire, a common liberty and a common security without the ethnic domination and centralised absolutism to which past empires have been subject, but also without the ethnic exclusiveness that is the hallmark of the nation state - inappropriate in an era without borders an era without borders and unworkable in regions such as the Balkans." - statebuilding

"In October 2001 and after the September 11th attacks, Robert Cooper, an advisor to Blair was transferred to the Foreign Ministry to accomplish a specific mission, polishing the final touches on the project of the future empire The former British empire is the imperial advisor to the future American empire

In "Prospect" magazine, Cooper explicitly said that "Nation States" had proved their failure after independence and that all conditions are set for the beginning of a new imperialism with an Anglo-Saxon culture This is what really happens and Iraq is only a part of a series of plots. "
The importance of Iraqi oil to the US

Blair's push for new world order

Tony Blair's trip sought to shore up support from Arab nations

By BBC Newsnight's political editor Martha Kearney Friday, 12 October, 2001

The prime minister's trip to the Middle East was the first time we saw in practice the theme of his party conference speech about establishing a new world order. The immediate priority was to shore up the international coalition against terrorism, strained to the limit over the bombing of Afghanistan.

But Tony Blair added a new dimension by linking resolution of the Middle East peace process to the eventual defeat of terrorism.

Talking to journalists on the plane, he made a parallel with the Northern Ireland peace process - that when there is a political vacuum, it is filled with extremist violence. It was a view shared by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt whom the Prime Minister met in Cairo.

He warned that the Middle East problem could lead to many more generations of terrorist groups in the world and that unless there is a comprehensive settlement there would be no safety on the planet.

'Reinvigorate the process'

But Arab leaders can take comfort from recent developments. There is no doubt that international pressure is building.

Tony Blair has certainly been urging George Bush to reinvigorate the process again - and it does seem that the pressure is heading in the direction of Israel. President Bush talked recently for the first time about the idea of a Palestinian state which was not received well in Israel.

There is mounting international pressure to restart the peace process But the problem is that there is deep suspicion in the Arab world that this interest in the Middle East peace process - and particularly helping the lot of the Palestinians - has happened only because the US and Britain need to keep the Arab countries on side.

One Egyptian journalist asked the Prime Minister on Thursday whether the interest was just part of a tactical move - something which Mr Blair, of course, denied. He said: "I have no doubt at all that it is important not just for the stability in the region but for the stability of the world that we see this process succeed. "And this is not simply something we are saying because of the aftermath of 11 September and the need to keep a strong alliance, it is something we genuinely believe. And this has gone back a very, very long time."


But it is certainly true that the events of 11 September have added urgency.

A government document called Defeating International Terrorism, which was released on the trip, talks about "renewed efforts to resolve the conflicts which are the underlying causes of international terrorism".

But many people in the Middle East are sceptical. The leaders Blair has met told him that they really had a problem with their own people who feel that the west has lost interest in the Middle East peace process. There has also been the suggestion that a planned visit to Saudi Arabia has been cancelled because the political situation is so sensitive.

Propaganda war

So an important part of his trip has been to fight the propaganda war - to win over hearts and minds in the Arab world over peace process and against Osama Bin Laden.

There has been a rather New Labour way of framing the debate.

Tony Blair talks about "rebuttal" which has been a key weapon in their domestic success. So the prime minister has been giving interviews and writing articles for the Arab media, including one on Thursday for the newspaper Al Hayat, which is distributed all over the world.

Mr Blair pointed out in his column that Britain, the rest of Europe and the US have always recognised that Palestinians face injustice, writing: "We have always supported the creation of a Palestinian state, through negotiation, which contributes to the stability of all the countries in the region including Israel.

"That is why in the last few days, we have exerted enormous pressure to get the Middle East peace process back on track."


Tony and Cherie Blair arriving in India

Blair returns to new world order

By Nyta Mann - Friday, 4 January, 2002 - BBC News Online political correspondent - travelling with the prime minister

Although Tony Blair has arrived in India, his diplomatic shuttle across South Asia is as yet in low-key mode. But it will move up several gears pretty soon.

The key Asian leaders - Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee and Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf - are occupied for most of this weekend with the regional summit of South Asian leaders being held in Kathmandu.

So it is when this ends that Mr Blair is expected to hold talks with Mr Vajpayee.

In the meantime, Mr Blair is using his two-night stop-over in Bangalore to focus on a theme he has highlighted before - that of a world in which the interests of individual nation states are increasingly globalised - economically, socially and, as 11 September showed, through acts of terrorism.

Global social justice

In his speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry on Saturday he will seek to develop the theme of "global interdependency" - a slightly clunking phrase for the vision he began to draw two years ago when the Kosovo crisis was dominating his attention and much of his time. That speech was delivered at a time when critics questioned why Mr Blair was devoting so much of his prime ministerial energies and considerable UK military forces into Kosovo when he had not been moved to intervene in other crises elsewhere in the world. He returned to the theme in his speech to Labour's party conference last October, which painted an ambitious vision of a new, global social justice, including a new deal for Africa.

In Bangalore he delivers the third speech in the series, setting out his principles of international engagement and his vision of the UK¿s role as a force for good in the new, globalised world order. Mr Blair will further define the "interdependent" agenda, telling his audience that although Britain no longer has an empire and is not a superpower, it has a vital role in the world which 11 September has made clearer than ever before.


The prime minister believes that role is to be a pivotal player in the world, using the combined benefits of Britain's history, geography, language, links with other nations and international bodies in the interests of the UK and the wider world at one and the same time.

Knitting Afghanistan and 11 September into the ideas he first set out during the Kosovo crisis, he will stress how vitally important this position is in a world where threats and opportunities in a far away place can have immediate consequences on the other side of the globe.

It is only nations acting together, as with the US-led coalition against terrorism, that can meet such challenges.

The key thrust of his message is that in the era of globalisation, it is simply no longer possible to put foreign and domestic policy into separate compartments.

Mr Blair believes that international engagement of the kind he has thrown himself into since the attacks on the US is just, not only because it was right in its own terms, but because protecting Britain's national self-interest also required it. The prime minister's Labour conference speech left many observers lauding the sentiments in it, but critical that Mr Blair would quite simply not be able to live up to its almost save-the-world rhetoric. That speech also included the striking image that, in the immediate wake of 11 September: "Out of the shadow of this evil, should emerge lasting good...This is a moment to seize.

"The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us."

Three months on, the prime minister appears to have a clearer notion of where he believes those pieces are now starting to settle.


2002 - Blair aide calls for colonies

Mar 28 2002 By Bob Roberts

A SENIOR aide to Tony Blair yesterday called for a return to colonialism.
Foreign affairs adviser Robert Cooper said: "What is needed is a new kind of imperialism.

"The opportunities, perhaps even the need for colonisation, is as great as it ever was in the 19th century." Mr Cooper added: "The weak still need the strong and the strong still need an orderly world. "A world in which the efficient and well-governed export stability and liberty, and which is open for investment and growth, seems eminently desirable."

He said Afghanistan showed what could happen if the West did not intervene in the Third World. Terrorists could use failed states as bases to attack "orderly" nations.

His comments will anger MPs who think Labour is keener on matters abroad than problems at home. But Mr Blair stressed that the world couldn't submit to the "savagery of the fanatic".

Daily Mirror

Blair's Britain wants a return to 'age of empire'

The call for a "defensive imperialism", with Western countries, particularly Britain and the European Union intervening abroad to restore order, comes in a pamphlet that has a foreword by Blair himself.

Blair's advisor, Robert Cooper, who represented the British government at the Bonn talks that produced the interim Hamid Karzai administration in Afghanistan, is known to have heavily influenced the British prime minister's foreign policy thinking.

Just three months ago, Blair used the high-tech, but hugely symbolic venue of Bangalore in the former British Raj to speak of his vision for Britain as a "force for good in the world".

Cooper, who argues for a "post-modern" apartheid-like duality of laws and systems to deal with "ourselves and the premodern world", says the West will have to employ "double standards".

He said that like the old empire, Western countries would have to deal with "old-fashioned states outside the postmodern continent of Europe with the rougher methods of an earlier era force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century"

The pamphlet, which contains a thoughtful essay on Hindu, Muslim and Christian identity by Amartya Sen, is published by the Foreign Policy Centre, set up by Blair and of which he remains the patron. "
Times of India

"The term 'imperialism' has not had a very good press in radical and even Marxist milieux; the preferred term is that of 'empire', generally reduced to the case of the US. It has, on the other hand, reappeared in the financial press since 11 September and has even been 'theorized' by Robert Cooper, adviser to Tony Blair on diplomatic affairs. Military intervention is necessary, it is argued, and should be followed by close supervision of (or the establishment of a protectorate over) the countries that have been plunged into chaos. These forms of neo-colonialism would be organized under the auspices of the 'international community' - that is, the countries that dominate the planet and the international organizations (IMF, World Bank. NATO) whose programmes they dictate. The US has neither the intention nor the possibility of managing world chaos on its own. The carve up of Argentina was not the deed of the 'US empire', but of the financial capital of the US and EU.

The reservations expressed by the EU countries in relation to US 'unilateralism' are not then based essentially on disagreement about the globalisation of capital. They are witness to their fear of being marginalized in the management of the 'affairs of the world' and, in the short term, witnessing a 'unilateral' division of the Iraqi booty. Hence the increased military budgets in the biggest EU countries. "
War drive: armed globalisation

The rhetoric:

The Morality of Amorality in Foreign Policy

Speach on the conference Morality and Politics, Vienna, 7 December 2002

When it comes to morality, diplomats are usually seen as cold and calculating. Machiavelli and Metternich are synonymous with the ruthless pursuit of interest verging on dishonesty. Sir Henry Wootton, Queen Elizabeth's Ambassador to Venice and Bohemia, described his profession as being made up of honest gentlemen sent abroad to lie for their countries. But good reasons exist for diplomacy's amoral tradition; paradoxically, this tradition embodies important moral values.

Many of us, despite our great respect for the US, react against phrases like "Axis of Evil" not because the countries listed do not present serious challenges, but because of the difficulties that follow from mixing foreign policy and morality. "Evil" is a religious term, not a foreign policy principle.

Foreign policy is about war and peace. If wars are fought on moral or religious grounds, no basis for restraint exists. After all, to call something evil is to invoke a moral duty to destroy it. No compromise, no modus vivendi, no peaceful co-existence is possible. Even containment is ruled out, for there is simply no room for negotiation and compromise. You cannot do business with the Great Satan.

Europe twice endured unrestrained wars. The Thirty Years War, fought over religion, laid waste to the Continent, killing one-third of Germany's population. Memory of the war's horrors led to a period of rationalism and restraint in international politics.

But memories fade. In the last hundred years, contests of nationalism (with God on both sides) nearly annihilated Europe, and the Cold War could have done so. The moment you believe "better dead than Red" you are in trouble. Dying to save your home, family, or country may be rational. But martyrdom is different and dangerous. As the Romanian philosopher E. M. Cioran says: "Once man loses his faculty of indifference he becomes a potential murderer; once he transforms his idea into a God the consequences are incalculable."

The amoral approach has been Europe's main tradition since the Thirty Years War. Its pantheon includes such passionless executors of raison d'état as Metternich, Talleyrand, Richelieu, Bismarck, and Kissinger--people who make alliances with morally repugnant partners and then sometimes reverse them at the drop of a hat.

The objective of amoral foreign policy is to sustain order in an anarchic international system by ensuring tolerance and pluralism among a number of independent actors. This is the best way to restrain power in a world where there is no one but us to do so. In such a world, interests must come first, because we cannot negotiate about values.

Naturally, several qualifications apply. Tolerance has limits. Genocide cannot be defended on the grounds of pluralism. There is also an imperative to deal with anyone who threatens the pluralistic nature of the system.

Second, although an "amoral" international system may be necessary to support pluralism, an individual country's foreign policy need not be value-free. There is also ample scope to decide whether we define our interests broadly or narrowly, and whether we pursue them by negotiation or violence. We have choices to make about all our policies, and these choices are not morally indifferent.

For the most part, there is no such thing as an "objective" national interest. Abolition of the slave trade, or the triumph of socialism, or the spread of human rights and democracy can all be deemed a national interest. Sometimes countries adopt policies that threaten their survival, conscious that they are doing so. Poland and Czechoslovakia reacted differently to the Nazi threat not because their interests were different, but because their people were different.

How you define your interests reflects how you define your country. The Soviet Union and America had similar interests at the end of the Second World War. America pursued its interests through openness and multilateral systems. The USSR pursued its interests by force, reflecting the brutal nature of its regime.

Some argue that insisting on amoral diplomatic language is no longer necessary, because human rights are more or less universally accepted, if not always observed. But this is true only to a point. Globalisation has brought increasing acceptance of common rules and legal norms, but this is not the same thing as universal acceptance of human rights. Many countries claim that their law is based on divine authority, say, the Koran, returning us to the bleak potential for unlimited conflicts over values.

There is also a different order of priorities between weak and strong states. In countries where order may break down at any moment, it may not be better--as it is in stable, well ordered countries--to let ten guilty men go free rather than punish one innocent man wrongly. In practice, order must be established before it can be limited by the rule of law and international human rights norms.

Today, the threat of terrorist attack causes people to re-examine human rights and legal standards. It may be more important instead to look at the language in which we discuss terrorist incidents. At times dialogue with terrorists may be needed; there may be reason to avoid making this impossible by fixating too rigidly on moral imperatives and condemning all terrorists as unspeakable criminals.

The case for a morally neutral diplomacy remains more compelling than ever, for on closer inspection, it is also a case in favor a foreign policy based on clear moral values.

The Morality of Amorality in Foreign Policy - Robert Cooper

The new liberal imperialism

Senior British diplomat Robert Cooper has helped to shape British Prime Minister Tony Blair's calls for a new internationalism and a new doctrine of humanitarian intervention which would place limits on state sovereignty. This article contains the full text of Cooper's essay on "the postmodern state", written in a personal capacity, an extract from which appears in the print edition of The Observer today. Cooper's call for a new liberal imperialism and admission of the need for double standards in foreign policy have outraged the left but the essay offers a rare and candid unofficial insight into the thinking behind British strategy on Afghanistan, Iraq and beyondYou can join the online debate here.

Sunday April 7, 2002

In 1989 the political systems of three centuries came to an end in Europe: the balance-of-power and the imperial urge. That year marked not just the end of the Cold War, but also, and more significantly, the end of a state system in Europe which dated from the Thirty Years War. September 11 showed us one of the implications of the change.

To understand the present, we must first understand the past, for the past is still with us. International order used to be based either on hegemony or on balance. Hegemony came first. In the ancient world, order meant empire. Those within the empire had order, culture and civilisation. Outside it lay barbarians, chaos and disorder. The image of peace and order through a single hegemonic power centre has remained strong ever since. Empires, however, are ill-designed for promoting change. Holding the empire together - and it is the essence of empires that they are diverse - usually requires an authoritarian political style; innovation, especially in society and politics, would lead to instability. Historically, empires have generally been static.

In Europe, a middle way was found between the stasis of chaos and the stasis of empire, namely the small state. The small state succeeded in establishing sovereignty, but only within a geographically limited jurisdiction. Thus domestic order was purchased at the price of international anarchy. The competition between the small states of Europe was a source of progress, but the system was also constantly threatened by a relapse into chaos on one side and by the hegemony of a single power on the other. The solution to this was the balance-of-power, a system of counter-balancing alliances which became seen as the condition of liberty in Europe. Coalitions were successfully put together to thwart the hegemonic ambitions firstly of Spain, then of France, and finally of Germany.

But the balance-of-power system too had an inherent instability, the ever-present risk of war, and it was this that eventually caused it to collapse. German unification in 1871 created a state too powerful to be balanced by any European alliance; technological changes raised the costs of war to an unbearable level; and the development of mass society and democratic politics, rendered impossible the amoral calculating mindset necessary to make the balance of power system function. Nevertheless, in the absence of any obvious alternative it persisted, and what emerged in 1945 was not so much a new system as the culmination of the old one. The old multi-lateral balance-of-power in Europe became a bilateral balance of terror worldwide, a final simplification of the balance of power. But it was not built to last. The balance of power never suited the more universalistic, moralist spirit of the late twentieth century.

The second half of the twentieth Century has seen not just the end of the balance of power but also the waning of the imperial urge: in some degree the two go together. A world that started the century divided among European empires finishes it with all or almost all of them gone: the Ottoman, German, Austrian, French , British and finally Soviet Empires are now no more than a memory. This leaves us with two new types of state: first there are now states - often former colonies - where in some sense the state has almost ceased to exist a 'premodern' zone where the state has failed and a Hobbesian war of all against all is underway (countries such as Somalia and, until recently, Afghanistan). Second, there are the post imperial, postmodern states who no longer think of security primarily in terms of conquest. And thirdly, of course there remain the traditional "modern" states who behave as states always have, following Machiavellian principles and raison d'ètat (one thinks of countries such as India, Pakistan and China).

The postmodern system in which we Europeans live does not rely on balance; nor does it emphasise sovereignty or the separation of domestic and foreign affairs. The European Union has become a highly developed system for mutual interference in each other's domestic affairs, right down to beer and sausages. The CFE Treaty, under which parties to the treaty have to notify the location of their heavy weapons and allow inspections, subjects areas close to the core of sovereignty to international constraints. It is important to realise what an extraordinary revolution this is. It mirrors the paradox of the nuclear age, that in order to defend yourself, you had to be prepared to destroy yourself. The shared interest of European countries in avoiding a nuclear catastrophe has proved enough to overcome the normal strategic logic of distrust and concealment. Mutual vulnerability has become mutual transparency.

The main characteristics of the postmodern world are as follows:

· The breaking down of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs.

· Mutual interference in (traditional) domestic affairs and mutual surveillance.

· The rejection of force for resolving disputes and the consequent codification of self-enforced rules of behaviour.

· The growing irrelevance of borders: this has come about both through the changing role of the state, but also through missiles, motor cars and satellites.

· Security is based on transparency, mutual openness, interdependence and mutual vulnerability.

The conception of an International Criminal Court is a striking example of the postmodern breakdown of the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs. In the postmodern world, raison d'ètat and the amorality of Machiavelli's theories of statecraft, which defined international relations in the modern era, have been replaced by a moral consciousness that applies to international relations as well as to domestic affairs: hence the renewed interest in what constitutes a just war.

While such a system does deal with the problems that made the balance-of-power unworkable, it does not entail the demise of the nation state. While economy, law-making and defence may be increasingly embedded in international frameworks, and the borders of territory may be less important, identity and democratic institutions remain primarily national. Thus traditional states will remain the fundamental unit of international relations for the foreseeable future, even though some of them may have ceased to behave in traditional ways.

What is the origin of this basic change in the state system? The fundamental point is that "the world's grown honest". A large number of the most powerful states no longer want to fight or conquer. It is this that gives rise to both the pre-modern and postmodern worlds. Imperialism in the traditional sense is dead, at least among the Western powers.

If this is true, it follows that we should not think of the EU or even NATO as the root cause of the half century of peace we have enjoyed in Western Europe. The basic fact is that Western European countries no longer want to fight each other. NATO and the EU have, nevertheless, played an important role in reinforcing and sustaining this position. NATO's most valuable contribution has been the openness it has created. NATO was, and is a massive intra-western confidence-building measure. It was NATO and the EU that provided the framework within which Germany could be reunited without posing a threat to the rest of Europe as its original unification had in 1871. Both give rise to thousands of meetings of ministers and officials, so that all those concerned with decisions involving war and peace know each other well. Compared with the past, this represents a quality and stability of political relations never known before.

The EU is the most developed example of a postmodern system. It represents security through transparency, and transparency through interdependence. The EU is more a transnational than a supra-national system, a voluntary association of states rather than the subordination of states to a central power. The dream of a European state is one left from a previous age. It rests on the assumption that nation states are fundamentally dangerous and that the only way to tame the anarchy of nations is to impose hegemony on them. But if the nation-state is a problem then the super-state is certainly not a solution.

European states are not the only members of the postmodern world. Outside Europe, Canada is certainly a postmodern state; Japan is by inclination a postmodern state, but its location prevents it developing more fully in this direction. The USA is the more doubtful case since it is not clear that the US government or Congress accepts either the necessity or desirability of interdependence, or its corollaries of openness, mutual surveillance and mutual interference, to the same extent as most European governments now do. Elsewhere, what in Europe has become a reality is in many other parts of the world an aspiration. ASEAN, NAFTA, MERCOSUR and even OAU suggest at least the desire for a postmodern environment, and though this wish is unlikely to be realised quickly, imitation is undoubtedly easier than invention.

Within the postmodern world, there are no security threats in the traditional sense; that is to say, its members do not consider invading each other. Whereas in the modern world , following Clausewitz' dictum war is an instrument of policy in the postmodern world it is a sign of policy failure. But while the members of the postmodern world may not represent a danger to one another, both the modern and pre-modern zones pose threats.

The threat from the modern world is the most familiar. Here, the classical state system, from which the postmodern world has only recently emerged, remains intact, and continues to operate by the principles of empire and the supremacy of national interest. If there is to be stability it will come from a balance among the aggressive forces. It is notable how few are the areas of the world where such a balance exists. And how sharp the risk is that in some areas there may soon be a nuclear element in the equation.

The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle. In the prolonged period of peace in Europe, there has been a temptation to neglect our defences, both physical and psychological. This represents one of the great dangers of the postmodern state.

The challenge posed by the pre-modern world is a new one. The pre-modern world is a world of failed states. Here the state no longer fulfils Weber's criterion of having the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Either it has lost the legitimacy or it has lost the monopoly of the use of force; often the two go together. Examples of total collapse are relatively rare, but the number of countries at risk grows all the time. Some areas of the former Soviet Union are candidates, including Chechnya. All of the world's major drug-producing areas are part of the pre-modern world. Until recently there was no real sovereign authority in Afghanistan; nor is there in upcountry Burma or in some parts of South America, where drug barons threaten the state's monopoly on force. All over Africa countries are at risk. No area of the world is without its dangerous cases. In such areas chaos is the norm and war is a way of life. In so far as there is a government it operates in a way similar to an organised crime syndicate.

The premodern state may be too weak even to secure its home territory, let alone pose a threat internationally, but it can provide a base for non-state actors who may represent a danger to the postmodern world. If non-state actors, notably drug, crime, or terrorist syndicates take to using premodern bases for attacks on the more orderly parts of the world, then the organised states may eventually have to respond. If they become too dangerous for established states to tolerate, it is possible to imagine a defensive imperialism. It is not going too far to view the West's response to Afghanistan in this light.

How should we deal with the pre-modern chaos? To become involved in a zone of chaos is risky; if the intervention is prolonged it may become unsustainable in public opinion; if the intervention is unsuccessful it may be damaging to the government that ordered it. But the risks of letting countries rot, as the West did Afghanistan, may be even greater.

What form should intervention take? The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one most employed in the past is colonisation. But colonisation is unacceptable to postmodern states (and, as it happens, to some modern states too). It is precisely because of the death of imperialism that we are seeing the emergence of the pre-modern world. Empire and imperialism are words that have become a form of abuse in the postmodern world. Today, there are no colonial powers willing to take on the job, though the opportunities, perhaps even the need for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the nineteenth century. Those left out of the global economy risk falling into a vicious circle. Weak government means disorder and that means falling investment. In the 1950s, South Korea had a lower GNP per head than Zambia: the one has achieved membership of the global economy, the other has not.

All the conditions for imperialism are there, but both the supply and demand for imperialism have dried up. And yet the weak still need the strong and the strong still need an orderly world. A world in which the efficient and well governed export stability and liberty, and which is open for investment and growth - all of this seems eminently desirable.

What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle.

Postmodern imperialism takes two forms. First there is the voluntary imperialism of the global economy. This is usually operated by an international consortium through International Financial Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank - it is characteristic of the new imperialism that it is multilateral. These institutions provide help to states wishing to find their way back into the global economy and into the virtuous circle of investment and prosperity. In return they make demands which, they hope, address the political and economic failures that have contributed to the original need for assistance. Aid theology today increasingly emphasises governance. If states wish to benefit, they must open themselves up to the interference of international organisations and foreign states (just as, for different reasons, the postmodern world has also opened itself up.)

The second form of postmodern imperialism might be called the imperialism of neighbours. Instability in your neighbourhood poses threats which no state can ignore. Misgovernment, ethnic violence and crime in the Balkans poses a threat to Europe. The response has been to create something like a voluntary UN protectorate in Bosnia and Kosovo. It is no surprise that in both cases the High Representative is European. Europe provides most of the aid that keeps Bosnia and Kosovo running and most of the soldiers (though the US presence is an indispensable stabilising factor). In a further unprecedented move, the EU has offered unilateral free-market access to all the countries of the former Yugoslavia for all products including most agricultural produce. It is not just soldiers that come from the international community; it is police, judges, prison officers, central bankers and others. Elections are organised and monitored by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Local police are financed and trained by the UN. As auxiliaries to this effort - in many areas indispensable to it - are over a hundred NGOs.

One additional point needs to be made. It is dangerous if a neighbouring state is taken over in some way by organised or disorganised crime - which is what state collapse usually amounts to. But Usama bin Laden has now demonstrated for those who had not already realised, that today all the world is, potentially at least, our neighbour.

The Balkans are a special case. Elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe the EU is engaged in a programme which will eventually lead to massive enlargement. In the past empires have imposed their laws and systems of government; in this case no one is imposing anything. Instead, a voluntary movement of self-imposition is taking place. While you are a candidate for EU membership you have to accept what is given - a whole mass of laws and regulations - as subject countries once did. But the prize is that once you are inside you will have a voice in the commonwealth. If this process is a kind of voluntary imperialism, the end state might be describes as a cooperative empire. 'Commonwealth' might indeed not be a bad name.

The postmodern EU offers a vision of cooperative empire, a common liberty and a common security without the ethnic domination and centralised absolutism to which past empires have been subject, but also without the ethnic exclusiveness that is the hallmark of the nation state - inappropriate in an era without borders and unworkable in regions such as the Balkans. A cooperative empire might be the domestic political framework that best matches the altered substance of the postmodern state: a framework in which each has a share in the government, in which no single country dominates and in which the governing principles are not ethnic but legal. The lightest of touches will be required from the centre; the 'imperial bureaucracy' must be under control, accountable, and the servant, not the master, of the commonwealth. Such an institution must be as dedicated to liberty and democracy as its constituent parts. Like Rome, this commonwealth would provide its citizens with some of its laws, some coins and the occasional road.

That perhaps is the vision. Can it be realised? Only time will tell. The question is how much time there may be. In the modern world the secret race to acquire nuclear weapons goes on. In the premodern world the interests of organised crime - including international terrorism - grow greater and faster than the state. There may not be much time left.

the essay:

Civilise or die

We can no longer afford to ignore weak or aggressive states. Regime change is necessary

Robert Cooper - Thursday October 23, 2003 - The Guardian

At his trial for an anarchist bomb outrage, the Texas IRS employee Albert Parsons declared: "Dynamite makes all men equal, and therefore makes them free." As it turned out, dynamite did nothing of the kind. But its successors may come closer to fulfilling the anarchist's dream. Nuclear weapons have a unique capacity for destruction and biological weapons may soon be capable of killing people in great numbers. Neither will make men free - rather the reverse - but they may make men equal. For the first time since the middle ages, individuals or groups will possess destructive power that puts them on equal terms with the state.

The same process that has brought the technology of destruction has also brought the emancipation of thought and of lives. And the process of modernisation that brings these things itself provides tension and conflict; 19th-century nationalism, the cultural revolution, fascism and communism and Islamic extremism are all responses to modernisation. Al-Qaida is both a reaction to modernism and a product of it: not just because it uses the internet or dreams of acquiring nuclear weapons, but because the belief itself that one can save the holy places from the infidel and overthrow governments by one's own actions is a part of the modern consciousness.

Put these two trends together - access for individuals to powerful weapons and the liberation of the individual from loyalty to church, state or tradition - and we have the possibility that the state's monopoly on force may be under threat. This will not (I hope) come within our lifetime, but eventually the logic of technology and society will assert itself. We must ask ourselves what we should do.

The most successful foreign policy strategy in living memory went under the name of containment. The essence of George Kennan's original concept was that you should defend yourself and wait for political change. Kennan, an American diplomat who served in Moscow for three decades, saw the cold war essentially as a political struggle - and he was right. It was a choice between two political systems, and in the end the choice was made through political rather than military means. The military battles of the cold war, all outside Europe, were not a great success for either side. Vietnam, the Horn of Africa, Korea, Nicaragua and Afghanistan were all left in a miserable condition. So we waited, according to Kennan's prescription (though 10 years longer than his guess).

"I would rather wait 30 years for the defeat of the Kremlin to be brought about by the exasperatingly slow devices of diplomacy than to see us submit to the test of arms a difference so little susceptible to any clear and happy settlement by those means."

Waiting for change was an appropriate strategy for the conflict between communism and capitalism, because each side believed that the other's system was doomed to collapse. It was relatively easy to believe political competition between two systems that were distant relatives - communism is as much a child of the enlightenment as liberal capitalism. It is less easy to understand today's enemies and be confident they will come to see the world as we do; and much less easy to know how we might defend ourselves against nuclear-armed enemies, especially if they are terrorists, not states.

It is no use waiting while terrorists prepare an attack. And if governments wait while unstable or aggressive states acquire WMD, they may find that their options for dealing with the arsenals or their owners have disappeared. The only way we shall feel secure is in a world of well-run countries governed by law at home and obeying international rules abroad. The risks from small groups of fanatics will not go away, but we will have more chance of managing them. We could live with countries not obeying the rules when that meant no more than a small war or a small outrage, but not when they concern the fundamentals of security. The domestic governance of foreign countries has now become a matter of our own security.

The world we are accustomed to - where every state minds its own business and others have no right to interfere - began to disappear with air travel, the internet, global television. With weapons of mass destruction it is gone forever. Multipolar deterrence in the Middle East would not be stable (the subcontinent is already a worry on its own). And the more such weapons proliferate, the greater the risk that terrorists will acquire them. Our only defence against such a world is the spread of civilisation.

Thus we should all be in favour of regime change. The only question is how to achieve it. Military intervention costs lives and money, and regimes imposed from the outside rarely last. The US's 19-year occupation of Haiti left little in the way of working constitutional structures. The regimes imposed by the Soviet Union at the end of the second world war disappeared when the Soviet armies went home. There are exceptions; Hashemite rule in Jordan survived the departure of British forces (though it did not do so in Iraq). But these are not many. If regime change by force is to be made secure, it will end by becoming empire.

One of the features about the 20th century was the disappearance of empire. Norway became independent in 1905; the first world war destroyed the Ottoman and Habsburg empires; America dismantled its empire in the interwar years; the second world war led to the dissolution of the British and French empires; and with the end of the cold war the Soviet empire also joined the bonfire of history.

The end of empire left many problems. Imperial powers bequeathed the nation-state system to their colonies, but it has not worked well in either Africa or the Middle East. On September 11 2001, we understood that failed states, like WMD, could represent a mortal danger. If states cannot govern themselves, it is not safe to allow them to become a haven for terrorists or criminals. Here, also, empire seems to be the obvious choice.

The difficulty is that empire does not work today. A century of emancipation, of national liberation movements and self-determination cannot be reversed. Empire has become illegitimate. But if containment does not work and empire is unacceptable, what is the alternative?

On Europe's borders, a massive effort has been made to prevent Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia from becoming failed states. If this works it will not be because a solution has been imposed by force, but because the Bosnians and others want to be part of a greater European structure.

The EU can in some respects be likened to an empire; it is a structure that sets standards of internal governance but in return offers its members a share in the decision-making, a place in the commonwealth. Across central Europe, countries have rewritten constitutions and changed laws to conform to European standards. This is a kind of regime change, but it is chosen, legitimate. This represents the spread of civilisation and good governance in lasting form.

This is not to say that the only way to deal with terrorism is to extend the EU into the Middle East. Can we imagine a regional structure in the Middle East with security guarantees from the US or Nato, and assistance and market access in the EU, traded against guarantees of good governance? There are a thousand objections: suspicion of the west in general and the US in particular is such that no one in the region would take the idea seriously. But what else might stop the conflict in Palestine for good? Would anyone have the vision to try?

It is not dynamite, nor even the fall of tyrants, that makes men free, but "good laws and good armies" (to quote Machiavelli). Foreign governments can impose neither, though they can assist in both, but only at a price. That price is high in time, risk, money and commitment. But it may be the price of our own security.

&183Robert Cooper works for Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief. The views in this article are his own and do not reflect either British or European policy Civilise or die

Duck and Drakes

HOW LONG DO EMPIRES LAST? William Bowles Neocon Robert Kagans piece:
Power and Weakness
Empire lust- Brian Denny

Tony Blair's speech to the Foreign Policy centre

Tuesday March 21, 2006 - from the Guardian

Over these past nine years, Britain has pursued a markedly different foreign policy. We have been strongly activist, justifying our actions, even if not always successfully, at least as much by reference to values as interests.

We have constructed a foreign policy agenda that has sought to link, in values, military action in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq with diplomatic action on climate change, world trade, Africa and Palestine.

I set out the basis for this in the Chicago speech of 1999 where I called for a doctrine of international community, and again in the speech to the US Congress in July 2003.

The basic thesis is that the defining characteristic of today's world is its interdependence; that whereas the economics of globalisation are well matured, the politics of globalisation are not; and that unless we articulate a common global policy based on common values, we risk chaos threatening our stability, economic and political, through letting extremism, conflict or injustice go unchecked.

The consequence of this thesis is a policy of engagement not isolation; and one that is active not reactive.

Confusingly, its proponents and opponents come from all sides of the political spectrum. So it is apparently a "neo-conservative" ie rightwing view, to be ardently in favour of spreading democracy round the world; whilst others on the right take the view that this is dangerous and deluded - the only thing that matters is an immediate view of national interest.

Some progressives see intervention as humanitarian and necessary; others take the view that provided dictators don't threaten our citizens directly, what they do with their own, is up to them.

The debate on world trade has thrown all sides into an orgy of political cross-dressing.

Protectionist sentiment is rife on the left; on the right, there are calls for "economic patriotism"; meanwhile some voices left and right, are making the case for free trade not just on grounds of commerce but of justice.

The true division in foreign policy today is between: those who want the shop "open", or those who want it "closed"; those who believe that the long-term interests of a country lie in it being out there, engaged, interactive and those who think the short-term pain of such a policy and its decisions, too great. This division has strong echoes in debates not just over foreign policy and trade but also over immigration.

Progressives may implement policy differently from conservatives, but the fault lines are the same.

Where progressive and conservative policy can differ is that progressives are stronger on the challenges of poverty, climate change and trade justice.

I have no doubt at all it is impossible to gain support for our values, unless the demand for justice is as strong as the demand for freedom; and the willingness to work in partnership with others is an avowed preference to going it alone, even if that may sometimes be necessary.

I believe we will not ever get real support for the tough action that may well be essential to safeguard our way of life; unless we also attack global poverty and environmental degradation or injustice with equal vigour.

Neither in defending this interventionist policy do I pretend that mistakes have not been made or that major problems do not confront us and there are many areas in which we have not intervened as effectively as I would wish, even if only by political pressure.

Sudan, for example; the appalling deterioration in the conditions of the people of Zimbabwe; human rights in Burma; the virtual enslavement of the people of North Korea.

I also acknowledge - and shall at a later time expand on this point - that the state of the MEPP and the stand-off between Israel and Palestine remains a, perhaps the, real, genuine source of anger in the Arab and Muslim world that goes far beyond usual anti-western feeling.

The issue of "even handedness" rankles deeply. I will set out later how we should respond to Hamas in a way that acknowledges its democratic mandate but seeks to make progress peacefully.

So this is not an attempt to deflect criticism or ignore the huge challenges which remain; but to set out the thinking behind the foreign policy we have pursued.

Over the next few weeks, I will outline the implication of this agenda in three speeches, including this one. In this, the first, I will describe how I believe we can defeat global terrorism and why I believe victory for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is a vital element of doing that.

In the second, I shall outline the importance of a broad global alliance to achieve our common goals. In the third, in America, I shall say how the international institutions need radical reform to make them capable of implementing such an agenda, in a strong and effective multilateral way.

But throughout all three, I want to stress why this concept of an international community, based on core, shared values, prepared actively to intervene and resolve problems, is an essential pre-condition of our future prosperity and stability.

It is in confronting global terrorism today that the sharpest debate and disagreement is found. Nowhere is the supposed "folly" of the interventionist case so loudly trumpeted as in this case.

Here, so it is said, as the third anniversary of the Iraq conflict takes place, is the wreckage of such a world view. Under Saddam Iraq was "stable". Now its stability is in the balance. Ergo, it should never have been done.

This is essentially the product of the conventional view of foreign policy since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This view holds that there is no longer a defining issue in foreign policy. Countries should therefore manage their affairs and relationships according to their narrow national interests.

The basic posture represented by this view is: not to provoke, to keep all as settled as it can be and cause no tectonic plates to move. It has its soft face in dealing with issues like global warming or Africa; and reserves its hard face only if directly attacked by another state, which is unlikely.

It is a view which sees the world as not without challenge but basically calm, with a few nasty things lurking in deep waters, which it is best to avoid; but no major currents that inevitably threaten its placid surface. It believes the storms have been largely self-created.

This is the majority view of a large part of western opinion, certainly in Europe. According to this opinion, the policy of America since 9/11 has been a gross overreaction; George Bush is as much if not more of a threat to world peace as Osama bin Laden; and what is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the Middle East, is an entirely understandable consequence of US/UK imperialism or worse, of just plain stupidity.

Leave it all alone or at least treat it with sensitivity and it would all resolve itself in time; "it" never quite being defined, but just generally felt as anything that causes disruption.

This world view - which I would characterise as a doctrine of benign inactivity - sits in the commentator's seat, almost as a matter of principle. It has imposed a paradigm on world events that is extraordinary in its attraction and its scope.

As we speak, Iraq is facing a crucial moment in its history: to unify and progress, under a government elected by its people for the first time in half a century; or to descend into sectarian strife, bringing a return to certain misery for millions.

In Afghanistan, the same life choice for a nation, is being played out. And in many Arab and Muslim states, similar, though less publicised, struggles for democracy dominate their politics.

The effect of this paradigm is to see each setback in Iraq or Afghanistan, each revolting terrorist barbarity, each reverse for the forces of democracy or advance for the forces of tyranny as merely an illustration of the foolishness of our ever being there; as a reason why Saddam should have been left in place or the Taliban free to continue their alliance with Al Qaida. Those who still justify the interventions are treated with scorn.

Then, when terrorists strike in the nations like Britain or Spain, who supported such action, there is a groundswell of opinion formers keen to say, in effect, that it's hardly surprising - after all, if we do this to "their" countries, is it any wonder they do it to "ours"?

So the statement that Iraq or Afghanistan or Palestine or indeed Chechnya, Kashmir or half a dozen other troublespots is seen by extremists as fertile ground for their recruiting - a statement of the obvious - is elided with the notion that we have "caused" such recruitment or made terrorism worse, a notion that, on any sane analysis, has the most profound implications for democracy.

The easiest line for any politician seeking office in the West today is to attack American policy. A couple of weeks ago as I was addressing young Slovak students, one got up, denouncing US/UK policy in Iraq, fully bought in to the demonisation of the US, utterly oblivious to the fact that without the US and the liberation of his country, he would have been unable to ask such a question, let alone get an answer to it.

There is an interesting debate going on inside government today about how to counter extremism in British communities. Ministers have been advised never to use the term "Islamist extremist". It will give offence. It is true. It will.

There are those - perfectly decent-minded people - who say the extremists who commit these acts of terrorism are not true Muslims. And, of course, they are right. They are no more proper Muslims than the Protestant bigot who murders a Catholic in Northern Ireland is a proper Christian.

But, unfortunately, he is still a "Protestant" bigot. To say his religion is irrelevant is both completely to misunderstand his motive and to refuse to face up to the strain of extremism within his religion that has given rise to it.

Yet, in respect of radical Islam, the paradigm insists that to say what is true, is to provoke, to show insensitivity, to demonstrate the same qualities of purblind ignorance that leads us to suppose that Muslims view democracy or liberty in the same way we do.

Just as it lets go unchallenged the frequent refrain that it is to be expected that Muslim opinion will react violently to the invasion of Iraq: after all it is a Muslim country. Thus, the attitude is: we understand your sense of grievance; we acknowledge your anger at the invasion of a Muslim country; but to strike back through terrorism is wrong.

It is a posture of weakness, defeatism and most of all, deeply insulting to every Muslim who believes in freedom ie the majority. Instead of challenging the extremism, this attitude panders to it and therefore instead of choking it, feeds its growth.

None of this means, incidentally, that the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan was right; merely that it is nonsense to suggest it was done because the countries are Muslim.

I recall the video footage of Mohammed Sadiq Khan, the man who was the ringleader of the 7/7 bombers. There he was, complaining about the suppression of Muslims, the wickedness of America and Britain, calling on all fellow Muslims to fight us.

And I thought: here is someone, brought up in this country, free to practise his religion, free to speak out, free to vote, with a good standard of living and every chance to raise a family in a decent way of life, talking about "us", the British, when his whole experience of "us" has been the very opposite of the message he is preaching.

And in so far as he is angry about Muslims in Iraq or Afghanistan let Iraqi or Afghan Muslims decide whether to be angry or not by ballot.

There was something tragic, terrible but also ridiculous about such a diatribe. He may have been born here. But his ideology wasn't. And that is why it has to be taken on, everywhere.

This terrorism will not be defeated until its ideas, the poison that warps the minds of its adherents, are confronted, head-on, in their essence, at their core. By this I don't mean telling them terrorism is wrong.

I mean telling them their attitude to America is absurd; their concept of governance pre-feudal; their positions on women and other faiths, reactionary and regressive; and then since only by Muslims can this be done: standing up for and supporting those within Islam who will tell them all of this but more, namely that the extremist view of Islam is not just theologically backward but completely contrary to the spirit and teaching of the Koran.

But in order to do this, we must reject the thought that somehow we are the authors of our own distress; that if only we altered this decision or that, the extremism would fade away. The only way to win is: to recognise this phenomenon is a global ideology; to see all areas, in which it operates, as linked; and to defeat it by values and ideas set in opposition to those of the terrorists.

The roots of global terrorism and extremism are indeed deep. They reach right down through decades of alienation, victimhood and political oppression in the Arab and Muslim world. Yet this is not and never has been inevitable.

The most remarkable thing about reading the Koran - in so far as it can be truly translated from the original Arabic - is to understand how progressive it is. I speak with great diffidence and humility as a member of another faith. I am not qualified to make any judgements.

But as an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, rather as reformers attempted with the Christian Church centuries later. It is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and way ahead of its time in attitudes to marriage, women and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands was breathtaking. Over centuries it founded an Empire, leading the world in discovery, art and culture. The standard bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian.

This is not the place to digress into a history of what subsequently happened. But by the early 20th century, after renaissance, reformation and enlightenment had swept over the Western world, the Muslim and Arab world was uncertain, insecure and on the defensive. Some countries like Turkey went for a muscular move to secularism.

Others found themselves caught between colonisation, nascent nationalism, political oppression and religious radicalism. Muslims began to see the sorry state of Muslim countries as symptomatic of the sorry state of Islam. Political radicals became religious radicals and vice versa.

Those in power tried to accommodate the resurgent Islamic radicalism by incorporating some of its leaders and some of its ideology. The result was nearly always disastrous. The religious radicalism was made respectable; the political radicalism suppressed and so in the minds of many, the cause of the two came together to symbolise the need for change.

So many came to believe that the way of restoring the confidence and stability of Islam was the combination of religious extremism and populist politics.

The true enemies became "the West" and those Islamic leaders who co-operated with them.

The extremism may have started through religious doctrine and thought. But soon, in offshoots of the Muslim brotherhood, supported by Wahabi extremists and taught in some of the Madrassas of the Middle East and Asia, an ideology was born and exported around the world.

The worst terrorist act was 9/11 in New York and Washington DC in 2001, where three thousand people were murdered. But the reality is that many more had already died not just in acts of terrorism against Western interests, but in political insurrection and turmoil round the world.

Over 100,000 died in Algeria. In Chechnya and Kashmir political causes that could have been resolved became brutally incapable of resolution under the pressure of terrorism. Today, in well over 30 or 40 countries terrorists are plotting action loosely linked with this ideology. Its roots are not superficial, therefore, they are deep, embedded now in the culture of many nations and capable of an eruption at any time.

The different aspects of this terrorism are linked. The struggle against terrorism in Madrid or London or Paris is the same as the struggle against the terrorist acts of Hezbollah in Lebanon or the PIJ in Palestine or rejectionist groups in Iraq.

The murder of the innocent in Beslan is part of the same ideology that takes innocent lives in Saudi Arabia, the Yemen or Libya. And when Iran gives support to such terrorism, it becomes part of the same battle with the same ideology at its heart.

True the conventional view is that, for example, Iran is hostile to Al Qaida and therefore would never support its activities. But as we know from our own history of conflict, under the pressure of battle, alliances shift and change. Fundamentally, for this ideology, we are the enemy.

Which brings me to the fundamental point. "We" is not the West. "We" are as much Muslim as Christian or Jew or Hindu. "We" are those who believe in religious tolerance, openness to others, to democracy, liberty and human rights administered by secular courts.

This is not a clash between civilisations. It is a clash about civilisation. It is the age-old battle between progress and reaction, between those who embrace and see opportunity in the modern world and those who reject its existence; between optimism and hope on the one hand; and pessimism and fear on the other.

And in the era of globalisation where nations depend on each other and where our security is held in common or not at all, the outcome of this clash between extremism and progress is utterly determinative of our future here in Britain.

We can no more opt out of this struggle than we can opt out of the climate changing around us. Inaction, pushing the responsibility on to America, deluding ourselves that this terrorism is an isolated series of individual incidents rather than a global movement and would go away if only we were more sensitive to its pretensions; this too is a policy. It is just that; it is a policy that is profoundly, fundamentally wrong.

And this is why the position of so much opinion on how to defeat this terrorism and on the continuing struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East is, in my judgement, so mistaken.

It ignores the true significance of the elections in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact is: given the chance, the people wanted democracy. OK so they voted on religious or regional lines. That's not surprising, given the history.

But there's not much doubt what all the main parties in both countries would prefer and it is neither theocratic nor secular dictatorship. The people - despite violence, intimidation, inexperience and often logistical nightmares - voted. Not a few. But in numbers large enough to shame many western democracies. They want government decided by the people.

And who is trying to stop them? In Iraq, a mixture of foreign Jihadists, former Saddamists and rejectionist insurgents. In Afghanistan, a combination of drug barons, Taliban and Al Qaida.

In each case, US, UK and the forces of many other nations are there to help the indigenous security forces grow, to support the democratic process and to provide some clear bulwark against the terrorism that threatens it. In each case, full UN authority is in place.

There was and is a debate about the legality of the original decision to remove Saddam. But since May 2003, the MNF has been in Iraq under a UN resolution and with the authority of the first ever elected government. In Afghanistan throughout, UN authority has been in place.

In both countries, the armed forces and police service are taking shape so that in time a democratically elected government has, under its control, sufficient power to do the will of the democratic state. In each case again, people die queuing up to join such forces, determined whatever the risk, to be part of a new and different dispensation.

Of course, and wholly wrongly, there are abuses of human rights, mistakes made, things done that should not be done. There always were. But at least this time, someone demands redress; people are free to complain.

So here, in its most pure form, is a struggle between democracy and violence. People look back on the three years since the Iraq conflict; they point to the precarious nature of Iraq today and to those who have died - mainly in terrorist acts - and they say: how can it have been worth it?

But there is a different question to ask: why is it so important to the forces of reaction and violence to halt Iraq in its democratic tracks and tip it into sectarian war? Why do foreign terrorists from Al Qaida and its associates go across the border to kill and maim? Why does Syria not take stronger action to prevent them? Why does Iran meddle so furiously in the stability of Iraq?

Examine the propaganda poured into the minds of Arabs and Muslims. Every abuse at Abu Ghraib is exposed in detail; of course it is unacceptable but it is as if the only absence of due process in that part of the world is in prisons run by the Americans. Every conspiracy theory - from seizing Iraqi oil to imperial domination - is largely dusted down and repeated.

Why? The answer is that the reactionary elements know the importance of victory or defeat in Iraq. Right from the beginning, to them it was obvious. For sure, errors were made on our side. It is arguable that de-Baathification went too quickly and was spread too indiscriminately, especially amongst the armed forces. Though in parenthesis, the real worry, back in 2003 was a humanitarian crisis, which we avoided; and the pressure was all to de-Baathify faster.

But the basic problem from the murder of the United Nations staff in August 2003 onwards was simple: security. The reactionary elements were trying to de-rail both reconstruction and democracy by violence. Power and electricity became problems not through the indolence of either Iraqis or the MNF but through sabotage. People became frightened through terrorism and through criminal gangs, some deliberately released by Saddam.

These were not random acts. They were and are a strategy. When that strategy failed to push the MNF out of Iraq prematurely and failed to stop the voting; they turned to sectarian killing and outrage most notably February's savage and blasphemous destruction of the Shia Shrine at Samarra.

They know that if they can succeed either in Iraq or Afghanistan or indeed in Lebanon or anywhere else wanting to go the democratic route, then the choice of a modern democratic future for the Arab or Muslim world is dealt a potentially mortal blow. Likewise if they fail, and those countries become democracies and make progress and, in the case of Iraq, prosper rapidly as it would; then not merely is that a blow against their whole value system; but it is the most effective message possible against their wretched propaganda about America, the West, the rest of the world.

That to me is the painful irony of what is happening. They have so much clearer a sense of what is at stake.

They play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party. Every act of carnage adds to the death toll. But somehow it serves to indicate our responsibility for disorder, rather than the act of wickedness that causes it. For us, so much of our opinion believes that what was done in Iraq in 2003 was so wrong, that it is reluctant to accept what is plainly right now.

What happens in Iraq or Afghanistan today is not just crucial for the people in those countries or even in those regions; but for our security here and round the world. It is a cause that has none of the debatable nature of the decisions to go for regime change; it is an entirely noble one - to help people in need of our help in pursuit of liberty; and a self-interested one, since in their salvation lies our own security.

Naturally, the debate over the wisdom of the original decisions, especially in respect of Iraq will continue. Opponents will say Iraq was never a threat; there were no WMD; the drug trade in Afghanistan continues. I will point out Iraq was indeed a threat as two regional wars, 14 UN resolutions and the final report of the Iraq Survey Group show; that in the aftermath of the Iraq War we secured major advances on WMD not least the new relationship with Libya and the shutting down of the AQ Khan network; and that it was the Taliban who manipulated the drug trade and in any event housed Al Qaida and its training camps.

But whatever the conclusion to this debate, if there ever is one, the fact is that now, whatever the rights and wrongs of how and why Saddam and the Taliban were removed, there is an obvious, clear and overwhelming reason for supporting the people of those countries in their desire for democracy.

I might point out too that in both countries supporters of the ideology represented by Saddam and Mullah Omar are free to stand in elections and on the rare occasions they dare to do so, don't win many votes.

Across the Arab and Muslim world such a struggle for democracy and liberty continues. One reason I am so passionate about Turkey's membership of the EU is precisely because it enhances the possibility of a good outcome to such a struggle. It should be our task to empower and support those in favour of uniting Islam and democracy, everywhere.

To do this, we must fight the ideas of the extremists, not just their actions; and stand up for and not walk away from those engaged in a life or death battle for freedom. The fact of their courage in doing so should give us courage; their determination should lend us strength; their embrace of democratic values, which do not belong to any race, religion or nation, but are universal, should reinforce our own confidence in those values.

Shortly after Saddam fell, I met in London a woman who after years of exile - and there were 4 million such exiles - had returned to Iraq to participate in modern politics there. A couple of months later, she was assassinated, one of the first to be so. I cannot tell what she would say now. But I do know it would not be: give up. She would not want her sacrifice for her beliefs to be in vain.

Two years later the same ideology killed people on the streets of London, and for the same reason. To stop cultures, faiths and races living in harmony; to deter those who see greater openness to others as a mark of humanity's progress; to disrupt the very thing that makes London special would in time, if allowed to, set Iraq on a course of progress too.

This is, ultimately, a battle about modernity. Some of it can only be conducted and won within Islam itself. But don't let us in our desire not to speak of what we can only imperfectly understand; or our wish not to trespass on sensitive feelings, end up accepting the premise of the very people fighting us.

The extremism is not the true voice of Islam. Neither is that voice necessarily to be found in those who are from one part only of Islamic thought, however assertively that voice makes itself heard. It is, as ever, to be found in the calm, but too often unheard beliefs of the many Muslims, millions of them the world over, including in Europe, who want what we all want: to be ourselves free and for others to be free also; who regard tolerance as a virtue and respect for the faith of others as part of our own faith.

That is what this battle is about, within Islam and outside of it; it is a battle of values and progress; and therefore it is one we must win.

Tony Blair's speech to the Australian parliament

Monday March 27, 2006

The hon David Hawker MP, speaker of the House of Representatives; the hon Paul Calvert, president of the Senate; the hon John Howard MP, prime minister; The hon Kim Beazley MP, leader of the opposition; distinguished members and senators of the parliament of Australia.

Mr speaker, I am grateful to you and to the parliament of Australia for giving me the opportunity to address the members and senators who are gathered here in this superb chamber.

It is good to see my old friend Kim, at whose feet I used to sit, back leading the Labor party; and it is a privilege to be in the company of prime minister John Howard, whose steadfast leadership and firmness as an ally and friend has often given me cause to be deeply grateful. Australia may not be in my blood; but it surely is in my spirit.

My earliest memories are Australian. From the age of two till five, I lived in Adelaide. I remember returning from the hospital where my sister Sarah had just been born, looking at her in the back of the old Austin we drove; running errands for our neighbour, Mr Trederay; taking showers under the garden hose in the heat on the lawn; visiting friends up country in the Adelaide hills; and being chased by magpies as I ran across the open ground near our home, early training for later skirmishes with the media.

At Uni, I was reintroduced to religion by an Australian, Peter Thomson; and introduced to politics by another, Geoff Gallop, both dear friends to this day. I've been back many times. I love the people; love the place; always have and always will. Australia is just a very special place to be.

We all are familiar with our shared history; and our shared sporting passion and rivalry. The English victory in the Ashes was like a carnival of celebration, perhaps as much for its rarity value.

At the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, you once again showed the world, the exuberance and sheer style that is modern Australia. You also won rather more than the rest of us.

I wrote a speech once about how Britain had to become a "young country" again and it was Australia I had in mind. Today I like to think we share a lot more than history and endeavour on the playing fields. We share an outlook to life.

We are both confident, outward bound, and "up for it" type of nations. This is a world in the course of choosing. Underneath its daily tumult - the stories of strife and sensation that blast their way into our consciousness - we are in struggle of a more profound kind.

Globalisation is a fact. But the values that govern it are a choice. We know the values we believe in: democracy and the rule of law; also justice, the simple conviction that, given a fair go, human beings can better themselves and the world around them.

These are the values our two countries live by; and others would live by, if they had the chance. But we believe in more than that. We believe that the changes happening in the world that make it more integrated, the globalisation that with unblinking speed re-shapes our lives, is an opportunity as much as a risk.

We are open societies. We feel enriched by diversity. We welcome dynamism and are tolerant of difference. Left and right still matter hugely in politics and the divergence can sometimes be sharp.

But the defining division in countries and between people is increasingly open or closed; open to the changing world or fearful, hunkered down, seeing the menace of it not the possibility.

This is the age of the interconnected. We all recognise this when it comes to economics, communication and culture. But the same applies to politics. The struggle in our world today therefore is not just about security, it is a struggle about values and about modernity - whether to be at ease with it or in rage at it.

To win, we have to win the battle of values, as much as arms. We have to show these are not western still less American or Anglo-Saxon values but values in the common ownership of humanity, universal values that should be the right of the global citizen.

This is the challenge. Ranged against us are the people who hate us; but beyond them are many more who don't hate us but question our motives, our good faith, our even-handedness, who could support our values but believe we support them selectively.

These are the people we have to persuade. They have to know this is about justice and fairness as well as security and prosperity. And in truth there is no prosperity without security; and no security without justice. That is the consequence of an inter-connected world.

That is why we cannot say we are an open society and close our markets to the trade justice the poorest of the world demand. Why we cannot easily bring peace to the Middle East unless we resolve the question of Israel and Palestine.

Why we cannot say we favour freedom but sit by whilst millions in Africa die and millions more are denied the very basics of life. If we want to secure our way of life, there is no alternative but to fight for it.

That means standing up for our values not just in our own country but the world over.

We need to construct a global alliance for these global values; and act through it. Inactivity is just as much a policy, with its own results. It's just the wrong one. The immediate threat is from Islamist extremism.

You mourn your victims from Bali as we do ours and those from July 7 last year in London. We can add to them victims from Madrid, or September 11 in the US.

But, this terrorism did not begin on the streets of New York. It simply came to our notice then. Its victims are to be found in the recent history of many lands from Russia and India, but also Algeria, Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, Kenya and countless more.

And though its active cadres of terrorists are relatively small, it is exploiting a far wider sense of alienation in the Arab and Muslim world. We will not defeat this terror until we face up to the fact that its roots are deep, and that it is not a passing spasm of anger, but a global ideology at war with us and our way of life.

Their case is that democracy is a western concept we are forcing on an unwilling culture of Islam. The problem we have is that a part of opinion in our own countries agrees with them. We are in danger of completely misunderstanding the importance of what is happening as we speak in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our troops, British and Australian are along side each other; and I know whatever our views on either conflict, we are all deeply proud of the commitment, dedication and bravery of our armed forces. But in each case, we have nations engaged in a titanic struggle to be free of a legacy of oppression, stagnation and servitude.

In each case, its people have, for the first time, been offered a choice to vote. In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. What better symbol of hope, and of belief in the values, we too hold dear.

But in each case also, the forces of reaction are at work, trying through the most evil of means, terrorism - the slaughter of the innocent because they are innocent - to destroy this hope. I know the Iraq war split this nation as it did mine.

And I have never disrespected those who disagreed with me over it. But for almost three years now we have been in Iraq with full UN support.

From the outset our forces in Afghanistan have been there with UN authority. In both cases, there is the full support of democratically elected governments. Every reactionary element is lined up to fight us.

They know if they lose, a message is sent out across the Muslim world, that strikes at the heart of their ideology. So they are fighting hard. We must not hesitate in the face of a battle utterly decisive in whether the values we believe in, triumph or fail.

Here are Iraqi and Afghan Muslims saying clearly: democracy is as much our right as yours; and in embracing it, showing that they too want a society in which people of different cultures and faith can live together in peace.

This struggle is our struggle. If the going is tough - we tough it out. This is not a time to walk away. This is a time for the courage to see it through.

But though it is where military action has been taken that the battle is most fierce, it will not be won by victory there alone.

Wherever people live in fear, with no prospect of advance, we should be on their side; in solidarity with them, whether in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea; and where countries, and there are many in the Middle East today, are in the process of democratic development, we should extend a helping hand.

This requires, across the board an active foreign policy of engagement not isolation. It cannot be achieved without a strong alliance. This alliance does not end with, but it does begin with America. For us in Europe and for you, this alliance is central.

And I want to speak plainly here. I do not always agree with the US. Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in.

The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us, can be resolved or even contemplated without them.

Our task is to ensure that with them, we do not limit the agenda to security. If our security lies in our values and our values are about justice and fairness as well as freedom from fear, then the agenda must be more than security and the alliance include more than America.

Once the Israeli election has taken place, we must redouble our efforts to find a way to the only solution that works: a secure state of Israel and a viable, independent Palestinian state. We must continue to mobilise the resources and will to turn the commitments of 2005 into action to combat the ravages of conflict, famine and disease in Africa where millions, literally millions, die every year preventably.

We must focus on the threat of climate change, now made all the more acute by anxiety over energy supply. I know there are disagreements here. We strongly support Kyoto. You did not. But we need also to look to the future now. You have the Asia-Pacific Partnership.

We inaugurated the G8+5 Gleneagles dialogue. There is the UN process after Montreal. At some point we must bring it all together.

There will be no agreement worth having that does not involve the US, China and India as well as the rest of us. There will be no resolution without a clear, disciplined framework for action, with measurable outcomes. And there will be no forgiving of any of us if we do not pay attention to the degrading and polluting of our planet.

Then, in the immediate term, we are confronted with the world trade round. Again, the issue is: open or closed. People in our countries look at the rise of China, the emergence of India; they see the competition; fear the loss of jobs and push back.

Everywhere you look today the tide of protectionist sentiment is flowing. In this WTO trade round, we have the opportunity to make it ebb. At stake, obviously is our commitment on world poverty and development. But also in the balance, is the very idea of multilateral action to achieve common goals.

If we can't put a decent trade round in place, when it is so plain that our long-term national interest and the wider interests of the world demand it, this will be a failure with multiple consequences, all of them adverse. Europe's agricultural protection is a policy born of another age and it's time to end it.

But change in Europe alone is not the answer. America must open up. Japan, too. And in non-agricultural market access we look to leadership from Brazil and India. And we must agree a development package for the poorest that includes 100% market access and aid for trade.

This is a cause of prosperity - because we all benefit from open markets; of justice, because the poorest nations need to be able to stand on their own two feet and trade in our markets; and of self-interest, because if we want to build the right relationship with China, the sensible thing is to bind them into the world economy, not put them in opposition to it.

And if all this were not enough, we have to fight for our values here at home too. Both our nations have been formed in part by waves of migration. Today's world is a world on the move. We need rules to ensure such migration is fair.

But both Britain and Australia have long since gotten over the fear that different ethnic groups damage our identity or put our cohesion at risk. Today we take pride in our diversity. We know tolerance, respect for others, and a basic way of life founded on democratic freedoms are held in common by the vast majority of our people, whatever their race or creed.

When the terrorists struck, Britain and Australia reacted in the same way. We did not turn on Muslims; we united against terrorists. In doing so, we sent out a signal of belief; and the world heard it. This is a big agenda. It means action on all fronts. There will be many insidious and persuasive voices that urge us to stay in our comfort zone, high in the stands and watch the field of play. It is tempting and yet I don't believe our countries will ever truly prefer spectating to playing. We naturally get stuck in. It's our way. It's certainly always been yours.

In 1939, when Britain declared war on the Nazi tyranny, that same day your prime minister announced you were at war too. No ifs, no buts, just solidly with the world. How magnificent and how typical.

We needed you then. We need you now. This is a struggle of a very different nature, but it will determine our collective future. It is one, together, we can win.

origianlly published in The Guardian



Captain Wardrobes

Down with Murder inc.