Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has questioned the West’s strategy of taking military action against Russia off the table in the conflict in Ukraine, arguing that the punitive sanctions taken against Vladimir Putin’s regime have failed to detering the ongoing war.

Writing in a blog post for the Tony Blair Institute, the Iraq War architect questioned whether it was “sensible” to rule out the military option against Russia, despite concerns that such actions could trigger a third World War over the former Soviet territory.


While Blair said that he “understands and accepts” that there is no political will for military engagement from the West against Russia, he claimed that Putin is using the “desire not to provoke escalation” as a bargaining chip against NATO.

“When he is threatening NATO, even stoking fears of nuclear conflict, in pursuit of his attempt to topple by force a peaceful nation’s democratically elected president and wage war on its people, there is something incongruous about our repeated reassurance to him that we will not react with force,” the former prime minister wrote.

Blair went on to question if the West will continue to refrain from war if Putin “uses chemical weapons or a tactical nuclear weapon, or tries to destroy Kyiv as he did Aleppo in Syria, without any regard to the loss of civilian life,”.

“Is it sensible to tell him in advance that whatever he does militarily, we will rule out any form of military response? Maybe that is our position and maybe that is the right position, but continually signalling it, and removing doubt in his mind, is a strange tactic,” he added.

Failing to take military actions itself, the former British leader called on the West to increase its supply of weapons to surface-to-air missile (SAM) weapons as well as making a commitment to continue providing weapons to the country.

On top of that, Blair called for “further economic sanctions and complete ostracisation from the international financial community” which he said should last until Putin relinquishes power. Additionally, Belarus should be warned that if they fully enter the war, they would face a “heavy price”, he argued.

“This posture underlines the importance of the other prong of the strategy: a concerted and structured push for a negotiated settlement,” the former PM wrote.

While making frequent allusions to the Second World War, Blair said that the West should take a pragmatic approach to Communist China, which has actually been credibly accused of committing genocide, in contrast to Mr Putin, despite the flurry of comparisons between the Russian strongman and Adolph Hitler.

“Our relationship with China will define 21st-century geopolitics and we cannot afford disengagement,” he wrote while noting that the West should ramp up defence spending in order to stay ahead of the Chinese.

In his post, Mr Blair also targetted the populist elements on the right and left in the United Kingdom, such as Brexit’s Nigel Farage and the far-left former leader of the Party Jeremy Corbyn, for criticising the unnecessary provocations of Russia by the EU and NATO for trying to expand onto Putin’s doorstep in Ukraine.

“It is no coincidence that the two most prominent UK voices attempting to pin responsibility on NATO for Putin’s aggression were Farage and Corbyn. Fifteen years ago, both were fringe figures. But after that time Farage managed to turn the Conservative Party into a Brexit party, and the far left under Corbyn took control of Labour,” he wrote.

The Iraq War architect went on to target “similar elements” within American politics, presumably in reference to figures such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former Democrat Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, both of whom have faced accusations of treason for questioning the strategic reasoning behind America’s involvement in Ukraine.

Blair argued for a return to a “strong centre-ground” in Western politics “on foreign and defence policy” and to abandon the “rampant populism of left and right” factions.

The former British prime minister, who has faced widespread criticism for spearheading the failed war in Iraq, which left hundreds of thousands of people dead, argued that the Western nation must “rediscover conviction in our democratic values and the way of life they represent” and to “stop demonising either our own institutions or our own history.”

Mr Blair, who boasted of visiting Ukraine every year since 2007, concluded by saying: “The tragedy of Ukraine is our wake-up call. We are awake. Now we must act.”


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