這兩天在讀 Tony Blair 的 memoir "A Journey: My Political Life"。他是近廿年的政客中我最欣賞的幾個人之一 (Bill Clinton 和小泉純一郎是另外兩個)，看了這本書之後我仍然維持這樣的看法。
他對目前的 financial crisis 提出幾點看法，我直接節錄：
1. "the market" did not fail. One part of one sector did.
2. government also failed. Regulations failed. Politicians failed. Monetary policy failed.
3. the failure was one of understanding. We didn't spot it.
4. financial innovation is not bad per se.
5. when a crisis occurs, its consequences are magnified beyond any comparison with days of old by the supremely interconnected and interdependent nature of the modern global economy.
關於 financial overhaul，他的看法是：
Of course there should be a regulatory overhaul, but most of all there should be systems of national and global supervision that enable us to understand this new financial world and to track it, so that we can intervene where the risk of systemic failure demands it. What there should not be is a wholesale attempt to predict every potential crisis and construct rigid rules in advance to prevent it. That way we risk flattening our financial system squeezing the innovation out of it...
由於對阿富汗及伊拉克的作戰，使得 Blair 也成為許多人抗議的對象。對於這一點，他也在這本回憶錄裡面大致說明了他當時做決策時的思考過程。我並不總是反戰，不過對於伊拉克戰爭，我當時並不贊成，那時的想法其實跟後來的發展蠻接近的。我以為打進巴格達會比實際發生的情況要困難些，不過那部份軍事行動的勝利大概沒有人懷疑過。麻煩的在於重建阿富汗以及伊拉克這兩個國家，這並不是推翻了暴政之後，人民的力量就會取而代之，從此大家過著幸福快樂的日子那麼簡單。不同的宗教、文化、種族以及價值觀，使得接下來的任務遠較當時的作戰行動來的更為艱難。
After about two hours, for a time I actually became worried. The moving line at the bottom of the TV screen was showing over a hundred Labour seats. The Tories had just six. I began to think I had done something unconstitutional. I had meant to defeat the Tories and do so handsomely; but what if we had wiped them out?
You have to be so careful at such events. You stand around talking. The mood is sombre. Someone says hello; the natural inclination is to smile. Someone snaps the picture. Before you know it, you look as if you are behaving inappropriately, as if the only thing you did was grin.
I recall sitting across the table from some leaders, unable to think of anything other than: My God, the poor people of that country. You get the dumb, the cynical, the tedious, the mildly unsuitable, the weird, the products of systems so mad and dysfunctional you find yourself marvelling that the leader is sentient let alone capable. And frankly some weren't sentient.