The West is Outspent, Outmaneuvered, Out-strategized
The West is losing ground on multiple fronts against the focused efforts of radical Islamists, says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The pessimistic assessment was delivered in New York as American travelers are being treated to a potentially never-ending terror alert for Europe.
Mr Blair said a tendency to "sympathise" with extremism was not only dangerous but also disempowering for moderate Muslims, because it made people resent them as much as extremists.
He said he was "intrigued" by the fact that western leaders, including Barack Obama, the US President, felt the need to condemn Terry Jones, a pastor who threatened to burn a Koran.
"Suppose an Imam, with thirty followers, in Karachi was to burn a bible," he said. "I can barely imagine a murmur of protest. It wouldn't be necessary for the President of Pakistan to condemn it because no one here would remotely consider he supported it."
The former prime minister also called on the west to make it "crystal clear" to Iran that their acquisition of a nuclear bomb would be unacceptable to the entire "civilised world".
"Go and read the speech of Iran's President to the United Nations just days ago here in New York, and tell me that is someone you want with a nuclear bomb," he told those who disagree.
He stressed that the achievement of a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine would remove "much of the poison which the extremists use".
And he defended his decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, saying: "whatever you think of the original action, we enabled the people to choose their Government."