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Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tony Blair in Conversation with Matthew Bishop

Tony Blair, Britain’s former Prime Minister and current Special Envoy to the Middle East, was at 92Y on Monday evening for The Business of Giving with Matthew Bishop, New York bureau chief for The Economist. The two spoke about Iran, Iraq, global warming, the Middle East, Africa, and much more. “Charming to a tee,” said blogger The Brooklyn Socialite.

The Jewish Week covered Blair’s frank comments on Israel and Palestine. “The Arab world today actually wants the issue [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict] resolved,” he said. “That gives us an opportunity.”

According to the Times of London, Blair thought “that it was impossible to predict the outcome of protests in Iran over the landslide presidential election victory claimed by the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” Since then, the government of Iran has made their intentions more clear, with the LA Times reporting that that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be sworn in for a second term by mid-August.

Blair’s most interesting remarks might have been on Globalization and America’s place in it. Vikie Karp at True/Slant wrote:

In his introductory remarks about the future of globalization and achieving justice and equality for all on an international scale, Blair said “We are a global community. And its chief attribute is that no one nation, not even this great nation of America, can do it on its own. In any case, power is shifting East and it is shifting quickly. Countries like India and China will take their rightful place. And it’s galvanizing people, too. Look at Iran today. So that’s my theory, and if I’m right, the countries of the global community must work in alliance with each other, and with equality, and it will work only if there is a feeling of obligation beyond their borders and a real belief that they can share values. If it’s simply a battle of interests, we will fail and the failure will be ugly.

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