This week’s log
This week, I’ve been worrying about whether one or more of my fillings is poisoned. This may seem like a Fidel Castro kind of concern to have, but given the kind of life I lead these days, it is less bizarre than it would have been a few years ago.
Another worry has been Iraq. This may sound egotistical, but I have a nagging fear that it may partly be my fault.
Back in the summer of 2002, I wrote to then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, to say that I thought there needed to be a more long-termist approach in British policy-making. The letter included a diagram from a politics textbook. The diagram looked at whether a government followed public opinion, or whether the leader followed his/her own judgement. It also looked at whether a government reacted to events, or formulated longer-term policies. It characterised Blair’s government as short-termist and public opinion-led, and Thatcher’s government as short-termist and leader’s judgement-led.
It was about this time that Tony Blair became more ‘Messianical’ in leadership style, and more ready to fly in the face of public opinion. For example, in going against public opposition to the mooted invasion of Iraq.
The Iraq situation seems to be a pretty intactable one. There may be a clear and obvious solution to it, but if there is, I for one don’t see it. I once read someone who had travelled a lot in the Islamic world, who said that the one issue that people kept coming back to as a cause of grievance was the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of solving Israel-Palestine as a solution to the problems in the Middle East, and wider Islamic world, doesn’t fill me with confidence. Partly as the Arab-Israeli conflict itself seems pretty intractable, and partly because Middle Eastern affairs in general seem to be labyrinthine and byzantine. Nevertheless, a lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, if it happened, would have to be a good thing, and good things would surely come from it.
Maybe we will have to wait until a new generation comes into positions of power and influence across the Middle East, before we will see peace in the region. I hope not.
I From the little I’ve seen on tv, Iraqis in general seem to be decent, friendly, hospitable people. Not people who deserve to be caught up in war and bloodshed.
I know that worrying about things isn’t necessarily a great idea, and hopefully my next post will be more positive.