Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned that extremist groups using biological weapons pose a relevant threat to the West. The appearance of the coronavirus and the Taliban coup in Afghanistan have increased his concerns. Blair asserted that “[c]Counterterrorism alone will not eliminate a well-established threat … We need some boots on the ground.
The use of biological weapons against civilian or military populations constitutes a vicious and manic attack on humanity which would undoubtedly have serious repercussions. In addition, a survey conducted by the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace on senior US politicians and decision-makers found that 78% of those polled see biological weapons as a “major threat,” and 58% say the threat is increasing. That is, Blair’s claim is not, because of his identity, necessarily incorrect. Biological warfare has been used for a very long time like ancient Greece and Persia, where armies besieging cities would infect water supply systems with the corpses of sick animals and humans. The recent anthrax and sarin gas attacks in the United States and Japan, respectively, have burned the threat of biological weapons into the collective psyche of many countries, resulting in an almost mystical reverence for their destructive capacity. It is frightening to recognize that nature can be designed to destroy its own inhabitants.
However, we must not forget who Tony Blair is – or, for that matter, where he is. This speech was delivered at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a London-based security think tank. It’s possible Blair thought his rhetoric would be better received in an institution devoted to addressing security threats. Yet after reading several RUSI publications, there seems to be a cohesive theme of supra-diplomacy instead of violent “solutions”. This, of course, with the exception of a few writers who echo Blair’s “radically centrist” calls for prolonged interventionism.
Indeed, Tony Blair advising a security think tank on ‘real’ threats to the West is quite comical, given that he’s the same man who, after the scathing criticism Chilcot investigation in the Iraq war, argued that he always invade Iraq again, although he knows what he knows now. It is also the same man who earned $ 2.5 million per year of JP Morgan after co-starting the war they were to profit from by leading the newly created Trade Bank of Iraq a few years earlier. Furthermore, The Tony Blair Institute, created at the end of 2016, has received contributions from the US State Department, the Canadian government, some African governments, Saudi Arabia and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, a charity created by a Ukrainian billionaire. Mistrustful?
Ultimately, my purpose here is not to criticize the reprehensible actions and nature of Mr. Blair. (Although it deserves it.) Rather, it is to emphasize that, when assessing “threats” to the West, you need to know who you are listening to, and not just accept a character’s words. public simply because he once held a public office. Managing and securing biological weapons is an ongoing mission, but not a mission that is solved with the boots on the ground that Blair advocates. Instead, nations with global influence and prestige should institute a new biological weapons treaty that would appropriately criminalize the acquisition and use of biological weapons.
Biophysicist Steven Bloc, who called biological weapons a “poor man’s atomic bomb” in American scientist, describes several mechanisms by which the threat of biological warfare could be reduced. Namely, Block supports the development of high-tech devices capable of instantly detecting deadly bacteria and viruses in the environment, and it encourages the production and storage of new vaccines. Also block reviews the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention for its lack of important provisions for enforcement or verification and its failure to achieve universal ratification.
Great Britain, which is already increasing its military presence by Mali, Nigeria and Somalia, must not continue this expansion of drones and ground warfare. As Managing Director of RUSI General Karin von Hippel said in a video clip surrounding the geopolitics of the post 9/11 world, “[W]We cannot defeat these organizations militarily. She is supported by her colleague from the RUSI counterterrorism department, Professor Michael Clarke, which adds: “[I]n the past 20 years, our defense and foreign policies have been distorted by continuing the expeditionary wars that this attack [9/11] led to. “
Let me leave you with that thought. Tony Blair notoriously sent President George W. Bush a note in late 2002, saying, “I’ll be with you no matter what. His actions have contributed to the deaths of at least 150,000 Iraqis and the displacement of a million more, not to mention the deaths of the British soldiers he sent to war. I can safely say that I won’t be with Tony Blair, “whatever”, and I hope you neither.