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Martin LeFevre: Vultures at Gleneagles

Meditations - From Martin LeFevre in California

Bush and Blair: Vultures at Gleneagles

What do war, poverty, and climate change have in common? Nothing, if Tony Blair has his way at Gleneagles. And because of that disconnect, failure by the Group of Eight (the richest countries in the world) to adequately address the most pressing concerns of humankind is a foregone conclusion.

The pressure for what Jef Keighley, co-director of the World Peace Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, calls “a quantum shift in thinking with respect to peace, war, and sustainability,” increases by the month. Blair (my fingers keep typing Bliar), being a bright boy, knows this, and desperately wants to leave something to his name besides the appellation “poodle.”

As for George W. Bush, he just doesn’t give a damn. Though he and Blair may secretly pray together (given the worldwide shell game they’ve been playing with prisoners, one could say that those who pray together flay together), Bush hews a much harder line for the Lord.

One cannot understand the Republican mindset until one understands their view of human nature. They hold that people are fundamentally selfish, greedy, and tribal. ‘Man’ is inherently evil in their view, which means that children and the masses must be shaped and controlled--hence their obsession with spin, PR, and propaganda.

As a born-again Christian himself, Blair more or less shares this worldview. But whereas Christianity in America has reached its dark nadir (to be confused with Darth Vader), the scorch and burn policies born of ‘end days’ madness hasn’t burrowed so deep in Britain —except, that is, into parts of Blair’s brain. Since the Bushites believe these are the ‘end days,’ why would they worry about global warming shutting down the ocean currents and causing a precipitous ice age?

(Here’s a riddle. Why do evangelical Christians in America continually talk about being attacked at home, when in fact Bush, Cheney, and Rove were exhorted and exported from their ranks? Because at some repressed level they know that their worldview is in its death throes.)

Attitudes toward war cannot be divorced from attitudes toward the earth, much less from policies regarding poverty. From a reasonable and healthy philosophical and psychological foundation, the connection between war, nature, and poverty is obvious.

What is not so obvious is the reason for Blair’s disconnect. Does he really believe that he can be the primary prop in invading a country that posed no threat, and still be a world leader in addressing climate change and poverty in Africa? Is the man a fool, or is he so sure there is no alternative to his twisted alliance with the Bush Administration that people will respect him in two out of three areas? Perhaps there is another agenda, both implicit and explicit, since he’s lowering expectations before the summit by saying, “I am not optimistic but that doesn’t prevent me from being determined.”

Why is this war criminal focusing on Africa? The fact that Blair has made Africa his pet project fills me with as much dread about the prospects for that continent (and by extension, for humanity) as the willful neglect coming out of the Bush Administration.

Blair says, “The people are at the walls.” What walls, except those behind which the club of rich nations wield power? Human history has moved beyond the nation-state, and national identity and sovereignty have become anachronistic. So what are we (‘we’ being citizens of the world as it is) to do? Can we let the powerful play their archaic games, while we build a true global polity? Or is theirs the only game in the global village?

People the world over hunger for a new compact between humans and nature, between the strong and the weak, and between the rich and the poor. Not only is it not going to come from Bush and Blair, it’s not going to come from within national frameworks and the international system.


- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: The author welcomes comments.

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