Tony Blair has called for the UK to consider using ground troops in the war against Isis, saying the fight against Islamic extremism is similar to the ideological and physical battles the West fought against communism and fascism.
In an essay for his Faith Foundation the former Prime Minister also says that Britain and America need to ally themselves with Russia and China to defeat extremist groups across the world.
But he warns that unless what he calls the “spectrum of Islamism” is taken on as well then similar groups to Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, will continue to form and threaten Western interests.
In his essay Mr Blair says while it is “right in the immediate term to concentrate on defeating Isis”, in the longer term “another Isis will quickly arise to take their place unless we go to the root of the issue and deal with this ideology wherever it shows itself on a co-ordinated global basis”.
Mr Blair says in military terms he is not advocating new “armies of occupation”. But adds:
We are, in certain situations where it is necessary and subject to all proper limitations, talking about committing ground forces.
You cannot uproot this extremism unless you go to where it originates and fight it.
And he suggests that Russia and China must be key partners in the fight so it is not seen as the West versus Islam. “This is a challenge which East and West share ... So the great powers of the East, without doubt, desire the right outcome to this battle as much as us.