Is Tony Blair the right man to bring peace to the Middle East? Plenty of people will have their say on that if – as predicted in today’s FT – Blair is appointed as a new envoy to the area. But, to my mind, the more interesting question is whether the Middle East is the right place to bring peace to Tony Blair.
Consider the problem. Here is a man who is leaving office reluctantly after 10 years in Downing Street. He is uncomfortably aware that his reputation for competence and morality has been badly damaged by the Iraq war. He is seeking redemption – and now wants to do something unarguably good. He wants to save something. He could try to save the planet from climate change – but Al Gore seems to have cornered that market. He is itching to save Africa – but there is no formal job to apply for. Oh well, it will have to be the Middle East.