And Iran’s the engine. I understand the temptation of this analogy; I’m sure I’ve used it myself. But coming from someone as influential as Blair, all it does in the public’s mind, I fear, is implicitly minimize a grave threat by measuring it against the yardstick of ultimate evil. If you want to note the similarities, and there are plenty, simply explain Islamism to them and let people draw the connection themselves. Saying “it’s 1939 all over again!” I think leaves most people who don’t follow this stuff regularly rolling their eyes in a real-world manifestation of Godwin’s Law. Blair seems to agree as he went out of his way to note how historical analogies are imperfect, but he had to know how the headlines were going to read tomorrow.

Islamist extremism is similar to “rising fascism in the 1920s and 1930s”, Tony Blair said last night in his first major speech since leaving office…

He told the audience, which included New York governor Eliot Spitzer and mayor Michael Bloomberg, that Iran was the biggest exporter of the ideology, and that the Islamic republic was prepared to “back and finance terror” to support it…

“Analogies with the past are never properly accurate, and analogies especially with the rising fascism can be easily misleading but, in pure chronology, I sometimes wonder if we’re not in the 1920s or 1930s again…

He added: “There is a tendency even now, even in some of our own circles, to believe that they are as they are because we have provoked them and if we left them alone they would leave us alone.

“I fear this is mistaken. They have no intention of leaving us alone.

“They have made their choice and leave us with only one to make – to be forced into retreat or to exhibit even greater determination and belief in standing up for our values than they do in standing up for their’s.”

The emcee apparently joked several times about a Blair candidacy in 2008, which, sadly, would be completely unviable given the current bent of the Democratic Party even if it was constitutionally possible. Don’t cry for him, though. There may be a presidency in his future anyway.

Tags: New York