Anti-America Europe would be dangerous: Blair
LONDON: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday he did not want a Europe which saw itself as a rival to the United States as that would be “dangerous and destabilizing” for the world.
“I don’t want Europe setting itself up in opposition to America... I think it will be dangerous and destabilizing,” Blair told the business daily the Financial Times.
Blair went on: “Those people who fear ‘unilateralism’ — so-called and in inverted commas — in America should realise that the quickest way to get that is to set up a rival polar power to America.”.”
The Financial Times, two of whose journalists interviewed Blair at his Downing Street office, saw in his remarks a warning to French President Jacques Chirac.
“Tony Blair has issued a direct challenge to France’s Jacques Chirac over the future of the transatlantic relationship by warning that the French president’s vision of Europe as a rival of the US is dangerously destabilizing,” it said on the front page under the headline “Blair warns Chirac on the future of Europe”.
Referring to the recent debate over possible US reprisals against France for its opposition to the war in Iraq, Blair said: “I am not really interested in talk about punishing countries, but I think there is an issue that we have to resolve here between America and Europe and within Europe about Europe’s attitude towards the transatlantic alliance.”
The prime minister went on: “I don’t want to see a situation develop in which either Europe or America sees a huge strategic interest at stake and we are not helping each other.
“And I think there is a difference of vision. Some want a so-called multi-polar world where you have different centres of power, and I believe will quickly develop into rival centres of power; and others believe, and this is my notion, that we need one polar power which encompasses a strategic partnership between Europe and America.”
Asked if he was still convinced that there were arms of mass destruction in Iraq, Blair replied that he was, and he was not at all surprised that it would take time to find the proof.
Blair said it was “highly significant” that “those people that were the last fighters in Iraq were in the main not Iraqis. What we found was that they were Al-Qaeda people, they were people from various different Arab states, various extremists, we even had Chechens there.”
Turning to North Korea, the prime minister said the current crisis needed a diplomatic resolution. “It is not just the US and Britain that regard a nuclear capability in the hands of North Korea as a threat,” Blair said.
“China and South Korea would say the same. The question is how you deal with it. And again I think we have got to offer North Korea a way out of its present situation.” —AFP