On July 6, 2016, Mr. Tony Blair responded to the Report of the Iraq Inquiry during a two-hour-long press conference. Answering a question, he said that there was a decision and it was a controversial decision – a decision to remove Saddam and a decision to be with America. “Now many people would disagree with both of those decisions,” he added, “Sir John Chilcot came quite close to it this morning. That’s fine, but if you’re going to do that, you have to say what the consequences of the opposite decision would have been.”
Of course, the decision to invade Iraq was not taken in London but in Washington. Mr. Blair joined in under enormous pressure from the other side of the Atlantic. However, he was not being fair in criticizing the Iraq Inquiry for not having speculated on what would have happened had the decision not been taken. This was not the purpose of the Inquiry. Nonetheless, one can make two observations, the first on Afghanistan and the second on terrorism. Okumaya devam et →
On July 6, 2016, Sir John Chilcot, made a statement on the “Report of the Iraq Inquiry”. In less than twenty-nine minutes, he summarized the conclusions of the 2.6 million-word report with clarity, precision and eloquence. He and his colleagues are only to be respected. And, they are not the only ones. At a time when EU capitals are debating Brexit, its wisdom or the lack of it, the people of the United Kingdom have given the world a lesson on what democracy is about. Very few Western countries, if any, could launch such an in-depth inquiry into major policy decisions of international consequence, no less than starting a war, taken by an earlier government and a prime minister and come up with a report underpinned with adjectives “scathing”, “devastating”, and “damning”. Okumaya devam et →
Fifty-one State Department officials have signed a “dissent channel memo” calling for a “more militarily assertive U.S. role in Syria”.
The availability of a “dissent channel” constitutes solid proof of respect for different opinions and their free expression in a government agency and is only to be envied. Secretary Kerry’s having a meeting with representatives of the group is also remarkable. In a department dealing with foreign affairs this all the more important because it ensures that policy decisions are adopted having taken full account of the collective wisdom of its members. Needless to say, once committed, foreign policy mistakes can be extremely costly and difficult to correct; a case in point being Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Okumaya devam et →
It was a few months before the 2008 US Presidential election. I was talking to my American colleague at UNESCO. I said to her that since American presidents’ decisions have global implications, democratic countries should also have the opportunity vote in those elections within a reasonable quota to be shared among them. She responded, “an interesting idea…”. We both laughed. It was a joke but the premise was not entirely without logic.
Now that we are only months away from the end of President Obama’s second term in office, pundits have started to express opinions regarding his legacy. I feel that without voices from the Middle East the portrayal President Obama’s legacy would be incomplete. Okumaya devam et →