Radical Islam the greatest threat facing the West, Tony Blair warns

The US and Britain should put their disputes with Russia and China to one side and jointly tackle the threat of radical Islam, Tony Blair said today in a foreign policy address in London

The US and Britain should put their disputes with Russia and China to one side and jointly tackle the threat of radical Islam, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today in a foreign policy address in London.

“At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam’s true message,” Mr. Blair told Bloomberg on 23 April 2014, adding the “threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world.”

In his address and in an interview with the BBC later that day Mr. Blair defended his government’s use of arms to remove Saddam Hussein from power.  The West must always side with those who promote the “principles of religious freedom and open, rule-based economies.” However, he urged President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron to seek a negotiated settlement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We are now in a position where both Assad staying and the opposition taking over seem bad options,’ he said. While Assad was “responsible for creating this situation,” there were “so many fissures and problems around elements within the opposition that people are rightly wary now of any solution that is an outright victory for either side.”

“Repugnant though it may seem, the only way forward is to conclude the best agreement possible even if it means in the interim President Assad stays for a period,” he said.

The greater threat to the West lay in radical Islam, Mr. Blair said. “It is destabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful coexistence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.”

To counter the jihadists Britain and America should rethink “how we should be building alliances to achieve this, including the recognition that on this issue, whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and co-operate with the East, and in particular, Russia and China.”

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