I saw an odd headline on the BBC saying “Blair to receive US peace medal”, so I investigated. An sure enough our ex-PrimeMinister is getting the US’s National Constitution Centre‘s Liberty Medal. From their press release:
Philadelphia, PA (June 30, 2010) – David Eisner, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, announced today that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will receive the 2010 Liberty Medal in recognition of his steadfast commitment to conflict resolution.
The spokesperson goes on to say
“This award recognizes both his dedication to and his success in building understanding among nations and creating lasting solutions in areas of conflict.”
Then they give a quote from the Democrat Governor of Pennylvania, Edward G. Rendell:
“Tony Blair, both in his time as British Prime Minister and in the work he has
done since leaving office, has been one of the world’s most important catalysts for reaching the goals of peace, freedom, and liberty.”
Reaching the goals of peace?
Peace? The Prime Minister who had more wars than elections.
The goals of freedom and liberty from the man whose legacy he wanted to be 90 days detention without trial?
The main justification is his work in Northern Ireland leading up to the Good Friday agreement. That was a major achievement, and his style worked for it (if in doubt leave it out and lie about it, which in this case got us to the point were the blocking issues seemed less significant than losing the progress. It worked.). Should be remembered that the work was started by John Major.
However mentioning the middle east is taking the proverbial. Iraq ought to be enough to say. And I don’t see major breakthroughs between Israel and Palestine at the moment.
Blair put military intervention back into British foreign policy in a way that had gone out of fashion. I fear because he was remote from the costs of war, and lacked the imagination to see them. It should only be used if there is no alternative, which was certainly not the case too often.
What are they thinking?