A special highlight of the year was the appearance by The Right Honorable Tony Blair, Former British Prime Minister and Quartet Representative to the Middle East at the season’s concluding event in June 2011. Mr. Blair engaged in a frank and open discussion with Club President David M. Rubenstein that touched on political and economic issues from around the globe. Beginning with an assessment of the chances for determining a peace process in the Middle East, based on his insight as Quartet Representative for the USA, UN, Russia and the EU to the Middle East, Mr. Blair also discussed current situations in Europe, Africa and Asia. The event was closed to the media to provide Mr. Blair with the opportunity to speak honestly and openly about his personal views on current world affairs of major magnitude.
Excerpts from Event
“. . . the rise of China probably is the single most determining feature of 21st century geo-politics. . . . People have a question mark and the question mark is very simple – you [China] are going to be this huge power, what is it that you want to use that power for and what are the values that make your country tick? . . . I essentially believe that China’s development is benign. But, I also believe one of the reasons why it’s so important for us to be strong right now – you in America and us in Europe – and for us to have some confidence in our own value system is because I think that strength will be an important part of ensuring that [China’s] development is benign.” ~ Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Quarter Representative to the Middle East
“The relationship [between the United States and the United Kingdom] is important. There is a view partly here, but also certainly in the UK and in Europe . . . people kind of say, ‘Look, let’s put a little distance between us . . . you’ve got these new powers emerging – China and India – why don’t we have relationships with them? America’s just another relationship.’ I think this is a big mistake. I think it is precisely because there are new centers of power emerging that it is important for those who basically share our values – freedom, the rule of law, commitment to democracy – we should stick together at this moment. We should not be separated out from each other.” ~ Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Quarter Representative to the Middle East
“. . . this will be Africa’s century. I think they will get themselves on their feet. The tragedy of Africa is that it is a rich continent with poor people.” ~ Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Quarter Representative to the Middle East