Ex-PM says allies should consider military options short of sending ground troops after England’s 2:1 defeat by Italy
Tony Blair has urged western governments to recognise that they need to take an active role in the World Cup, saying the west should consider military intervention in Brazil short of sending ground troops.
The former prime minister said there was a huge range of options available, including air strikes and drones, if England is to avoid a catastrophic failure to qualify from the group stage.
Blair was speaking on UK morning TV shows after writing a lengthy essay setting out how to respond to England’s World Cup crisis, including his belief that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was not the cause of England’s lacklustre performance against Italy yesterday.
“It is vitally important that we realise what is at stake here and act. We are going to have to engage with the possibility of failure in Brazil. You do not need to engage as much as we did in Afghanistan or Iraq, but a few well-targeted air strikes before England’s next game might concentrate minds a bit.“
However, his remarks drew criticism from Labour’s former international development secretary Clare Short, who said:
“More bombing will not solve England’s problems with a lack of pace down the left wing and weak defending of set pieces, in fact it could well just exacerbate it.”
Blair’s intervention comes as the Pentagon said that the US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, had dispatched the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush and two guided missile ships to Brazil as a precautionary measure before the US team’s game against Ghana tomorrow.
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