Tony Blair has been without question one of the most effective transitional figures in the recent history of the Industrialized world. Blair has effectively managed British domestic politics by reforming the civil service, keeping the U.K.'s economy strong despite a worldwide recession and has single handedly transformed the Labour Party once considered a socialist bastion into a mainstream, majority party. The Third way that many moderate Democrats here in the U.S. are looking for is best represented not by Bill Clinton who became a polarizing and divisive figure, but by Tony Blair a true independent thinker who has had big results at home.
American Liberals, despite the excellent example set by Mr. Blair have been obsessed about one thing- Blair’s unflinching support of President Bush’s war in Iraq. While I believe Blair made a mistake in backing Bush, it really was not the choice of Mr. Blair. What has happened over the past 50 years is that the United Kingdom which from the fall of Napoleon in 1815 until the end of World War II in 1945 was the world’s most powerful nation now fails to have an independent foreign policy. Just as Jeb Bush described the Florida Democratic Party as “pathetic,” the continued reliance of the once proud British on American policy makers is confounding and yes, pathetic.
Following American repudiation of the Anglo/French adventurism in the 1956 Suez crisis, Britain allowed its foreign policy to become almost completely subservient to American interests, contrary to the French who used the affair to grow further away from the Americans. The U.K. supported American policy in Southeast Asia, the invasion of Grenada, the bombing of Libya and repeated bombing of Iraq prior to the 2003 Iraq war. The British provided assistance both diplomatically and militarily in many of these instances even though no British security interest was at stake in any of these matters.
With a growing division between the Franco-German alliance that leads the European Union on one hand and the United States and its newly found Eastern European allies on the other, Britain could conceivably lead a third way in western foreign policy as well. With London, now having suffered similar Islamic terrorist attacks to what Paris, Madrid and Rome have felt over the last 20 years the time is ripe for Blair to work his magic in steering British policy to an independent course away from the polar extremes represented by the United States and the Franco/German led European Union.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.