Consider this voice against the backdrop of the drone attack discussion (speaking of the recent storm in the Gaza Strip):
“The impact of the storm has increased the urgency for immediate intervention in order to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip and has again illustrated the need for a more lasting solution to the problems facing the people there.”
And consider this voice against the backdrop of the Mandela discussion:
"Leaders are decision makers and takers. Leadership is always about taking responsibility when others would shrink from it; about stepping out and not stepping back. It is about being prepared to take the criticism and the inevitable chorus of disapproval that is leadership’s noisy accompaniment.
But here, right now, in this region and around the world, leadership has become especially tough. Today we live in an era of what you might call uniquely low predictability, and in a context in which all the choices are ugly. In economic decision making, across the developed world, the debate rages between those advocating austerity and those going for growth. Massive quantitative easing has taken place in the USA; EU; and the UK. A huge experiment is underway in Japanese monetary policy. Recently I read two papers, both brilliantly written: one by a distinguished UK financial leader, which argued that the monetary boost was right and was the world’s salvation; the other by an equally distinguished OECD economist, who argued it is a disaster and the world’s financial Armageddon. Which is right? As a leader you’re expected to know. Except you can’t know. The cosy economic consensus of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries departed with the crisis. In its place is confusion. But the leader has to decide.
In this region, the ugly choices abound: to intervene in Syria or not; to compromise with the Muslim Brotherhood or not; did the West make a mistake in supporting the Arab upheavals or was such support inevitable? How do we stop the nuclear ambitions of Iran? Everywhere you look there is uncertainty, unpredictability and instability.
And the problem is: the best short-term politics will often pull in the opposite direction from the best long-term policy. So much of the sentiment in the Western political economy is anti-business and particularly anti- the banks. But the best long-term policy is almost certainly to encourage business and have the financial sector back on its feet and thriving. Undoubtedly the predominant emotion in the West today is to stay out of Syria; indeed to stay out of the region’s politics. But as every day that passes shows, the cost of staying out may be paid in a higher price later.
In unpredictable times calculation of risk and interest is hard; so, as a leader do what you believe to be right, even if unpopular. Stick with what you believe. Lead from a point of principle. Because the conventional wisdom of today may be the disposable folly of tomorrow."
And this, from the same speech:
"Peace here is most important for Israelis and Palestinians. But it is important for all of us. Why? Because peace would symbolise reconciliation and respect between not only two nations but two peoples. The great political divide of our time is less between traditional left and right and more between the open minded and the closed minded. The open minded see a world in which different faiths, races and cultures mix and mingle, as an opportunity; the closed mind sees it as a menace. Yet globalization, an unstoppable force driven by technology and people not Governments and laws, pushes us together. We live interconnected and interdependent. Such a world only works through respect for difference. You may have your faith and I mine but my faith does not make me superior to you or you to me. Those who use religion as a badge of identity in opposition to those of a different faith put our world at risk. My Faith Foundation is about to launch a programme that links up schools of different faiths across the world so that children can learn from an early age how to live with each other and from each other."
The speaker is Tony Blair, the Quartet Representative (http://www.quartetrep.org/quartet/).
This region has always been the flashpoint, the model of The Unsolvable. These early violent days of Iraqi democracy are just faint approximations of the decades of violence witnessed here. The terrorism of Al Qaeda is just a newly weaned infant compared to the generations of terror, of Jews for Palestinians, and Palestinians for Jews. The struggle here, between Jews and Arabs, 2,000 years in the making, has seemed like it will last for 2,000 years more.
Yet here he is, a former Prime Minister of England, like Jimmy Carter, a former President of the United States, living and working in the streets and businesses and homes of this traditional terrorist hotbed, caring for its people, as people like himself, fighting for reconciliation, peace, and justice for the dispossessed. He knows that if humanity can solve The Unsolvable, no problem, no hatred, no division, can truly stand in its way. And he is here, solving.