New ‘colonialism’ that India must resist

Tony Blair, ex-UK prime minister, has done it again. As reported by RT news, he is defending openly and publicly the West’s military policies of aggression and regime change to promote its idea of democracy. This is indicative by his recent statement, “At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to […]

Tony Blair, ex-UK prime minister, has done it again. As reported by RT news, he is defending openly and publicly the West’s military policies of aggression and regime change to promote its idea of democracy. This is indicative by his recent statement, “At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to introduce democracy.” This was in reference to the mass invasion by primarily US and UK forces into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, that country’s leader, who was later executed. So where is all this leading to for India? Or does it matter?
Blair in a previous forum basically tried to underline those democracies as in the West, he believes do not create unnecessary wars. So, his conclusion is the world would be much better and more secure if authoritarians like Putin and other non-democrats did not exist. This can be a highly dangerous perspective that feeds into belligerent interventionism to push for the hard removal of perceived authoritarian government. Given the hostile and ridiculous statements by western media and people like George Soros in declaring Prime Minister Narendra Modi as not a democrat, where does Blairism intertwined with US exceptionalism lead to? You can easily guess it. At the very least to pressures by the West to interfere with Indian leadership and possibly to change it unnecessarily from the outside in. This is simply a new form of “colonialism” with real blinkers on for understanding what India needs is more years of a duly elected Modi administration that properly puts India’s interests first, not the US led NATO’s.
However, Blair is generally an Indophile and wants it as a permanent member on the UN Security Council and says more should look to India as a model. He has emphasized his positive attitude towards the country as reported in publications like the India Express and beyond for over a decade, However, he needs to more thoroughly drop his seemly continued support for interventionism that might hurt India one day whether he intends the opposite—at least for now. And stand up to those seeing New Delhi as “undemocratic”.
Blair’s American friends in Washington seem to forget about the aftermath of regime change and excess interference in nation-states, too often. The resulting fallout of civilian deaths and destabilization of Iraqi society were horrific due to America’s invasion there and even seizing of the country in the Iraq War. The same was for the NATO-led intervention into Libya that has led to continued mass waves of refugees hitting the shores of Europe and elsewhere. The sponsored, or supported coup at the least, in Ukraine by the US government has contributed significantly to a war in that country displacing millions. Blair needs to completely disown what was done there and continues to be done in Ukraine and elsewhere by western interventionism machinations.
But when Washington and friends decide that a government is highly inconvenient to its interests, they will do so often whatever to overthrow or simply change it, directly or indirectly. There are more than murmurs that the Modi government is irritating Washington for not supporting its efforts with the war in Ukraine and with its major purchases of discounted Russian oil. India is simply doing the best for its people. Washington wants it to do much more for its own interests and likely thinks it can get a better deal by putting Congress in power. Such potential disasters of interventionism encouraged by Indian politicians at home and abroad in the so-called support of pushing western-style democracy are imprudent. It is not bad for S. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, to remind Washington, even if diplomatically of not risking opening the Pandora’s box of an even greater hostility by Indians to modern day western imperialism.
Furthermore, Blair, by saying some months ago at a recent major forum in Bled, Slovenia that the democratic system as in the West including the US and UK are the best guarantees against war is really testing credulity. He should know as he jumped on the ill-conceived Iraq War bandwagon promulgated enthusiastically by Washington, which upholds itself and its NATO fellow members as the center of the democracy universe. But the UK and the US almost do not know a year that they are not at war or promoting one. And clearly, empirical evidence that aggressively promoting US-style governance and values can be plain dangerous for regional and global security, not only not humanitarian and fiscal goals in the end.
Also, remember this as John Kerry, former US Secretary of State, mentioned that Washington is too dominated by lobby money. Add to that what top US academics along with ex US president Jimmy Carter have described America as an oligarchy. And may I boldly add that the West overall is overly influenced by the pro-war lobby. Certainly, Tony Blair is a favorite of such lobbies as he has truly delivered for them in the past -enough war, to keep their assembly lines humming? Hopefully now, he and his foundation are thinking more peace-like as the Modi government is.
As well, the former British Prime Minister’s thesis stated in Bled that if only Russia had been a democracy like the UK or US, Putin would not have blundered into badly conceived war as with Ukraine. Let us not be naive that Russia would become more peaceful outwardly as a more open western-styled, political system that US neo-liberal interventionists imagine for it. Instead, it would have restrained itself from going into Ukraine. But that would have had less to do with becoming a true democracy, and more to do with strategic subordination to US led NATO. Moscow would then support many wars but this time ones directly involved or supported by the West, as it became NATO compliant. And as a large purchaser of weapons from US led NATO, no doubt.
But maybe Blair has some sense in what he is saying about the goodness of pushing his paradigm to make the world a much better place. Possibly, though only in a much truer democracy like India, not dominated by today’s western oligarchies and the war machine but with a truly independent media, less wars would get started. The West is far from there.
However, you cut it, Tony Blair, though seeming like a friend in India, and others like him just do not offer enough an attractive model of democracy. Rather, India does with its non-interventionist orientation which the West would better learn from. Even a new form of colonialism nicely dressed up by the charming, former British prime minister is still imperialism; even if it is not directly invasive. yet. Indians have seen enough of it whatever form it comes in and should vocally say no to it through the ballot box or other legitimate means. They should be permitted to decide what is democratic including their own leaders.
Peter Dash is an educator based in Southeast Asia and was a former Associate at Harvard University.