Skip to comments.Once again, Mr Blair puts America first [Anti-American editorial alert.]
Posted on 05/28/2006 12:13:45 AM PDT by familyop
"I hope that isn't the White House telling me they don't agree with that," quipped the Prime Minister when a mobile phone rang in the middle of the speech he gave at Georgetown University in Washington on Friday. "They act very quickly these guys "
His joke betrayed the nature of the "special relationship": the Bush administration tells Mr Blair what it wants, and Mr Blair does his best to provide it. That appears to extend even to changing the text of the Prime Minister's keynote speeches. In accordance with the usual protocol, the George-town address was discussed with members of the Bush administration.
The Americans suggested changes - and in a break with the usual protocol, Mr Blair appears to have made them. He seems to have watered down his original insistence that "change should not be imposed on Iran" to leave the door open for military action. He dropped his original insistence that the US and Europe give up their monopoly of the top posts at the IMF and the World Bank. He scaled back his plea for action on climate change.
It is only too characteristic of the one-sided relationship between the British and American governments since Mr Blair was elected. Mr Bush always has warm words for Mr Blair, and for good reason: the British Prime Minister has given the American President everything he could possibly want, even when Mr Bush is willing to do without a contribution from Britain. Famously, Mr Bush told Mr Blair prior to the invasion of Iraq that he realised Mr Blair would face insuperable domestic difficulties if he joined in, and that he was willing to go ahead without the British. The Prime Minister refused that offer - with dire consequences for his subsequent political standing.
Beyond warm words, what has Britain received from Mr Bush in return for the Prime Minister's unconditional and uncritical support? If there is an answer to that question other than "Nothing", it is extremely difficult to see what it is. Britain receives no preferential treatment from the US when it comes to economic or trading agreements. The extradition arrangements remain unjust: we hand over British citizens wanted for trial in America, but the Americans have yet to get round to putting their signature to the supposedly reciprocal treaty.
Above all, the occupation of Iraq has not had the glorious results that Mr Bush predicted for it. The country has sunk into violent sectarian strife. The total lack of planning for a post-invasion future has led to anarchy and an inability to rebuild Iraq's shattered infrastructure. American companies have proved themselves unable to reconstruct Iraq. Mr Blair forgot to ask the American President to ensure that British companies were given an opportunity to contribute, so very few of them have been able to.
Mr Blair's ideal of a selfless "international community", led by America, righting the wrongs of the world, has reached its nadir in Iraq. The "international community" has proved to be largely a figment of Mr Blair's imagination: he is its only member. He is the only world leader prepared to embark on foreign military adventures without considering whether they are actually in the national interest. Few other world leaders even bother with such rhetoric. Those that do, always act having carefully calculated their own country's interests first. It may have been loftily noble of Mr Blair to refuse such calculations in the hope of achieving international justice. It was also misguided.
The occupation of Iraq is likely to signal the end of the "Blair Doctrine" on foreign intervention. The hopes generated by the successful intervention against Serbia, which ended Milosevic's genocidal policies in Bosnia and Kosovo, have been erased by the emerging disaster in Iraq. Few now believe that invading a foreign country in the name of protecting human rights is worth the costs in terms of human blood. The threat to our security will have to be direct and palpable for military action to gain majority support: dodgy dossiers and idealistic pronouncements will not be enough.
The slow discrediting of the idea of an "interventionist international community" is Mr Blair's true legacy on the world stage. If it means that Britain's international relations are once again based on the solid foundation of national interest rather than the vapidities of "international solidarity", that may be no bad thing.
The world's only superpower as your very own bodyguard? Priceless.
This is more anti-Blair than anti-American I would have said. The broad thrust of the article is that the Prime Minister of the UK should make decisions based on the national interest of the country. I wouldn't disagree with that.
yes but without the USA there isn't going to be any UK to defend
I have to agree with that, though not in the way the writer may have intended. The "international community" leftists are always squawking about boils down to UN representatives making iseless gestures when they're not raping, ignoring genocide or filling their pockets.
When people talk about One World governments and breaking down national boundaries, what they seem to be talking about is taking all the mountains of money the US and a few Saudi princes have socked away, distributing it equally to everyone in the world, and then we'll all dance and sing together in the streets, everyone will have plenty, and wheeeee! won't it be just great?!
They never seem to consider that the world community can't get together on ANYTHING. As Ann Coulter said, what's legal in this world is what the US and the UK say is legal.
No-one is advocating that though? In the vast majority of cases our national interest tends to coincide with yours.
"I have to agree with that, though not in the way the writer may have intended. The "international community" leftists are always squawking about boils down to UN representatives making iseless gestures when they're not raping, ignoring genocide or filling their pockets."
That's exactly the way the writer intended it. Blair is one of the leftists squawking about the 'international community'.
IN THE NAME OF GOD. Over 100 British soldiers lie dead and you and others fly right off the handle at an editorial, to suggest that you ought to ally yourself with some other country.
By acting in this way, you make all the weirdo leftist dreams in this country come true - you make their assertion that we are a friend to America but America is not a friend to us come real. Blood should matter more to you than what a newspaper says. The fact that it doesn't either paints you as an idiot or a bigot.
And let's not forget, you see more vile things about yourselves in the anti-American press in the United States. Yet this does not make you abandon your own country. Blatherings in the British press should not lead to this nonsensical thought process from you lot.
Shame on you.
Anyone who seriously believes that the meanderings of some idiots in Canary Wharf is more important than the daily sacrifice of our troops, is very misguided. Anyone who seriously believes that Britain is going to abandon America is just as misguided: people thought that when Blair came to office in this first place, and many people on here thought Blair was "too weak, too socialist" to stand with America when it counted. They were wrong. They are wrong about what will follow. I just wonder what it will take for them to admit they are wrong.
What newspaper in Britain has been more conservative (meaning to have older traditional moral values) while pro-American than the Telegraph? Conrad Black made it as pro-American as it was.
It's still the best, but it has bad moments. I look for individual columnists such as Michael Gove of the Times as well.
As for the Tories:
I trust that will end this discussion.
Gosh....based upon the threads here on FR the past few weeks, I'm not sure I agree with you.
Every once in a while I see something like this from some small minded Briton, and I am amazed. What I see going on in the world is the flowering of the British empire. All the work of generations prepared to shoulder the "white man's burden" is paying off with English emerging as the lingua franca and growing prosperity wherever it is spoken. In my mind, Tony Blair stands tall and represents the responsibility of the motherland to all those people in an important post colonial way. Too bad that socialism has given too many British a diminished self-image when they have every right to rejoice and be proud.
Britain's foreign policy goal was, is, and will always be its own national interests above all else. Lord Palmerston said this about 160 years ago:
"We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are perpetual and eternal and those interests it is our duty to follow."
What the Telegraph is thinking is that it considers Britain fighting the WOT is serving America's national interests but NOT Britain's. It is dead wrong, in this case America's national interests do coincide those of Britain.
...agreed, and thanks for the history. Here's a related article of interest.
At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert
I notice defending of the perceived-results by a Briton over on that thread. Been talking with this gentleman (or lady, I just assume it's a he) for some time, and he is a typical British big C Conservative party hack who doesn't get the big picture. Still he is marginally better than many continental European political hecks like France's UMP or Germany's CDU.
But anyway, the way I see it, I agree that we are witnessing a shift of international balance of power and if the trends continue, all nations that really matter on the international stage in the future will be Asian and the US itself. Your (and our) national interests will become increasingly focussed on our parts of the world, and European nations may go down the route of being a more glorified Sweden. Australia, Japan and India are nations that will matter, Britain probably not much, and Germany...forget it.
If you are interested here's an article from NR's Rich Lowry. He explains more fully what I outlined on the post above (I don't think many EUphile Britons will like it though LOL):
Thank you. I read it, and it changed some of my focus for future study. It was well worth the read.
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