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I don't know if Blair did what he thought was right or not, since I don't know Blair well enough to venture a guess.  My suspicion the entire time has been that Blair joined Bush on Iraq in order to preserve the "special relationship" at all costs -- and that he was perhaps betting that a strong alliance with America was important than one with Europe.

That's just my suspicion, but I still struggle to figure why he did it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 09:53:07 AM EST
Just look at these quotations.

BBC news: Blair will stand down on 27 June (10 May 2007)

"I decided we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally, and I did so out of belief," he said of his decision to support America's invasion of Iraq.

...

"But believe one thing if nothing else, I did what I thought was right for our country. And I came into office with high hopes for Britain's future, and, you know, I leave it with even higher hopes for Britain's future."

In conclusion, he said: "Actually I've been lucky and very blessed. And this country is a blessed nation.

"The British are special - the world knows it, in our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth."

But if you want to know why he did it, see this comment subthread about Irwin Stelzer in the diary The rancid relationship by RogueTrooper on March 23rd, 2006.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 10:06:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This might have made sense in 2001, but in 2007 it's more of a stretch. Blair could presumably say whatever he wants to say now. The US hardly in a position to attempt a hatchet job on the UK economy, so he could easily have come out and thrown Bush off the cliff. This would be the honourable thing to do now, and is probably the only way Blair can redeem himself.

My guess is either some other form of blackmail - Blair's background is unlikely to be completely squeaky clean, and a few whiffs of weed would be enough to do him seriously political damage - or that Blair got religion in a serious way and actually believes he's in a crusade against Islam.

Or possibly both.

I've seen speculations that the US has a stack of kiddy porn leads on UK pols - which is sort of plausible, but only in a mad conspiracy theory kind of a way. It makes as much sense as any other explanation - which is to say, not much sense at all.

If Bush goes down, Blair would finally be able to tell all - at least subject to the usual threats of a nasty accident. Since an autobiography is inevitable, that would be the obvious place to tell the full story.

But my guess is that whatever the secret is, it's going to stay with Blair until he's dead and buried. And it's likely we'll never know for sure.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 01:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only thing that makes any sense to me is that he has another job lined up. It probably explains the Youtube message in french as well.

 All the kiddy porn rumours that I have heard that came from any other source than someone who could probably best be left under some form of medication would be one story that I heard about a British Euro figure.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 01:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll see where he jumps to.

That's going to be a big flashing neon Scooby-clue.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 01:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But my guess is that whatever the secret is, it's going to stay with Blair until he's dead and buried. And it's likely we'll never know for sure.

We can always hope for a messy divorce and Cherie spilling the beans.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 06:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Next on CNN."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 11:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure the idea of Britain suffering after 2001 holds much water, though.  For one thing, the dollar was already going to fall against the pound, given the downturn in America and the expansion in Britain.  Bush also doesn't have the capacity to significantly weaken the dollar.  From a policy perspective, the Fed is the big player on the dollar.  Congress can spend money to weaken it, but the other factors will ultimately swamp that.  America wasn't in a position to severely damage Britain, even at the height of the Dot-Com Era.

The military subsidies are another issue, but I'm not sure that produces more than a temporary setback, since the next president would have likely brought the subsidies back around.  It wouldn't make sense to weaken one's closest ally over the long haul, unless Bush was planning to cut ties with Britain.  That's, I suppose, not out of the realm of possibility (given his arrogance and generally vindictive personality), but -- and I say this even while taking the treatment by the American press of countries like France and Germany into account -- it would've raised more than a few eyebrows among average Americans, especially knowing how much Blair was talked up by the Bush administration after 9/11.

So, in my opinion, RogueTrooper's argument, in part, makes no sense; and, in another part, gives what can only be described as an incomplete story, at best.

If I were a betting man, -- and people who've seen my incredibly bad poker game can tell you I'm not -- I'd bet that Blair was somewhere on the fence in deciding whether or not to join.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 11:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The economic angle also doesn't make any sense for Bush politically because of his donor base.  Investment banks and insurance companies are his big donors.  And most, if not all, of them have large operations in London.  That's to say nothing of the damage that would be done to American shareholders -- whether wealthy individuals or pensioners or whatever other group -- because of the resulting losses in profit, and at a time when people were being hit quite hard already.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 11:56:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only angle I see as making any sense is  this is all done to keep the UK's seat on the security council. There is a push to give Germany and Japan Permanent membership, or to loose the British and French seats and replace them with a European Seat. If this were to happen then the UK would suffer  a blowto its self image. At the moment the UK has its permanent seat on the grounds that it is one of the Five major neuclear powers, however for a large period of time it has been buying its neuclear weapons in. The only countries that replacement weapons could be brought from are the US , every other country would really be discounted for political reasons. Can you imagine how mad the eurosceptics would go if the UK bought its neuclear crak from France? So the UK's status rested on on Keeping the US happy, and George Is just about vindictive enough that he would ban the UK from ever buying neucs from the USA ever again if they had turned him down.

then the Blair government would have been faced with groveling to the French government and that would never have done.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 09:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK could also develop its own nuclear program. Supposedly Iran can have a nuke in one year, so why can't the UK?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 10:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we built it ourselves, do you have any idea how overpriced, rubbish and late it would be?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 11:40:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I do, yes.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 11:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at the majority of projects that have been made in the last 20 years, you could take the cost of the US version, and treble it for the cost of a UK version,  so roughly an excess 40 billion pounds.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 12:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it could be funded by bonds. Or an LLP.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 01:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or an interest-only, negative-equity mortgage.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 04:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True. But the Iranians are short of even OUR level of management "competence".

They couldn't build a bomb in five years, even if all sanctions were dropped tomorrow and they went shopping at "Centrifuges 'r us"

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 11:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?  Short of the country that digs random holes in its streets and doesn't touch them for six months (if even then) for no apparent reason?  You're not giving Britain enough credit for its incompetence, Chris.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:50:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are pretty good at incompetence, I grant you.

Pretty good at creativity though: you have to be creative to be idle.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
overpriced, rubbish and late

...only to be referred to as "Stability & Growth" after June 27th.  Enjoy it while you can, ceebs. ;)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 12:52:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That, too, would be foolish, though.  It would amount to kicking off one of the two permanent members who are close allies.  (Bush can talk about looking into Putie-Pu's soul all he likes, but France and Britain are the only serious allies on the council.)  And it, too, would sent shockwaves through both Britain and America.

As for buying nukes from France, I suspect the eurosceptic crowd would rather buy them from France than not buy them at all.

Can the US even kick countries off the council?  I have no idea what the protocol is for that at the UN.  If so, and if the US was going to threaten Britain with it, why did the Bushies not kick France, Russia and China off?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 10:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody can kick countries off the council, though apparently the General Assembly could decide at one point that it was Mainland China and not Taiwan that represented "China" and so the UNSC seat changed hands (and Taiwan lost its UN membership)
From the 1960s onwards, nations friendly to the PRC, led by Albania, moved an annual resolution in the General Assembly to transfer China's seat at the UN from the ROC to the PRC. Every year the United States was able to assemble a majority of votes to block this resolution. But the admission of newly independent developing nations in the 1960s gradually turned the General Assembly from being Western-dominated to being dominated by countries sympathetic to Beijing. In addition, the desire of the Nixon administration to improve relations with China to counterbalance the Soviet Union reduced American willingness to support the ROC.

As a result of these trends, on October 25, 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the General Assembly, withdrawing recognition of the ROC as the legitimate government of China, and recognising the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China. China received support from two-thirds of all United Nations' members and the complete unanimous approval by the Security Council excluding the ROC.

The Resolution declared "that the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations." Because this resolution was on an issue of credentials rather than one of membership, it was possible to bypass the Security Council where the United States and the ROC could have used their vetoes.

Thus, ROC was expelled from UN.



Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 10:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that blair is a willing partner in this mess, and that it has a lot to do with peak oil and the declining north sea oil fields. he bet britain's fate on controlling what oil remains, to be a "great" power.

i would love to see what was in those cheney energy task force documents.

by wu ming on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 03:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I decided we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally ..."

So that would be Portugal, then? So, along with everything else, he is ignorant of history - which explains alot.

by det on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 03:40:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It sometimes seems that Blair believes that prehistory started with the Second World War and history started with Margaret Thatcher.

New Labour is notably hostile to every British tradition except that the gentleman in Whitehall knows best.

Blair is tone death to ancient institutional history. For example instead of trying to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor (with its historic executive, judicial and legislative responsibilities) by press release and spawning no end of complex constitutional legislation, there was a simpler answer. Blair could have put the Great Seal into commission and split the responsibilities of the Lord Chancellor between three commissioners.

by Gary J on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 10:38:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's amazing how often exceptionalism is a recurring theme with people who seek to excuse their violent excesses.
by zoe on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 04:29:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the great excuse. And this is exceptionalism of frightening intensity:

this country is a blessed nation.

The British are special - the world knows it, in our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth.

Thatcher just talked about putting the Great back into Britain (OK, maybe a bit more...) But this... Gah.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 04:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard that quote on the radio in the car and sat there amazed. It was like he was posessed by the spirit of Norman Tebbit.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:24:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The religious tone would be shocking if I didn't know Blair is a Christian  fundamentalist of sorts.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:59:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's someone who thinks he's analysed Tony Blair's personality using some sort of scientific method

The British choice in Iraq has been characterized as "Tony Blair's War," with many believing that the personality and leadership style of the prime minister played a crucial part in determining British participation. Is this the case? To investigate, I employ at-a-distance measures to recover Blair's personality from his responses to foreign policy questions in the House of Commons. I find that he has a high belief in his ability to control events, a low conceptual complexity, and a high need for power.

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1743-8594.2006.00031.x?journalCode=fpa

by zoe on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 04:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another analysis.  I can't access the whole paper.

2. Dyson, Stephen. and Lawrence, Brianna. "Blair's War: Institutional and Individual Determinants of the British Choice in Iraq" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2005-03-05 Online <.PDF>. 2007-05-10
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper seeks to explain the Blair administration's decision to support the United States in the 2003 Iraq war. The paper develops a framework for the explanation of foreign policy decisions in Britain based upon a model of institutional structure, the resources of key decision makers, and the individual characteristics of the prime minister (Dyson, 2003; 2004; Rhodes, 1990, 1995; Kaarbo, 1998). METHOD: Content analysis of the universe of Tony Blair's responses to foreign policy questions in the House of Commons from 1997-2004 is used to measure his individual characteristics, which are operationalized through Margaret G. Hermann's Leadership Trait Analysis technique (Hermann, 1980, 1983, 1999). The structure of the administration's decision making, and the strategies employed by actors within this structure, are reconstructed through a content analysis of British and international press accounts located through the lexis-nexus search engine. RESULTS: In terms of institutional structure and resources, the paper finds that key members of Blair's cabinet, such as Robin Cook and Clair Short, both opposed the war and utilized resources available to them such as public opposition, the leaking of information and resignation from ministerial posts, in order to seek to frustrate Blair's policy goals. Other actors, such as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, were personally uneasy about the policy and the prime minister was required to expend significant political capital in order to secure their support. Indeed, had Blair been a less dominant prime minister prior to the Iraq war, it is unlikely that he would have been able to secure the support of his cabinet and of parliament in the endeavor. In terms of individual characteristics of the prime minister, Blair is measured as significantly higher than other modern British Prime Ministers in belief in ability to control events, suggesting a proactive orientation to foreign policy, and significantly lower in conceptual complexity, suggesting a black and white view of the world which accorded well with the Bush administration's framing of the Iraq situation. The findings suggest that explaining the British decision to go to war alongside America requires an understanding of both the institutional structure of British foreign policy making, the resources possessed by key actors within this structure, and the individual characteristics of the Prime Minister.

by zoe on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and another:

5. Dyson, Stephen. "The U.S. / U.K. Alliance in Vietnam and Iraq: Why did Britain Stay out of Vietnam and go into Iraq?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, 2006-03-22 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2007-05-10
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: What accounts for the different outcomes in British decisions in Vietnam (not commit forces), and Iraq (commit forces), despite the similarities in the situations? In both Vietnam and Iraq a U.S. President pressed a Labour Party Prime Minister to commit forces to a war that was unpopular in the U.K. Yet, while Harold Wilson resisted repeated attempts by Lyndon Johnson to secure a commitment of troops, Tony Blair went out of his way to support George W. Bush, despite the domestic political cost. In seeking to account for these differing outcomes, I consider four explanatory variables: structural realism, alliance dynamics, domestic politics, individual characteristics of the Prime Minister.Method: Structured, focused case comparison methodology is used to compare the two episodes in a systematic fashion. These cases are in many ways an ideal pairing given the similarities between the situations yet the divergent outcomes. In order to measure the individual characteristics of the Prime Minister, I employ automated content analysis techniques that process an individual?s verbal output to reveal personality traits.Results: Structural realism fails to account for the difference in outcome between the two cases, as both responses (commit troops, don?t commit troops) can be deduced from a structural perspective. Alliance dynamics explanations are also unsatisfactory. Harold Wilson?s behaviour is contrary to what we would expect from a junior partner, and, while Blair?s choice is more consistent with this approach, the evidence shows that Blair reached the decision on grounds other than a pure calculation of alliance maintenance necessity. Domestic politics, on the other hand, is part of the explanation for the difference in outcome. Wilson was in a much more precarious position than Blair, and hence had to give more attention to the left-wing, anti-war part of the Labour Party than did Blair. However, this is not the whole story, and I find that a convincing account of the different outcomes in these cases requires a consideration of the differences between the Prime Ministers. Blair was a much more ?black and white? thinker than Harold Wilson, making Blair more amenable to the ?good and evil? framing of the situation by the U.S. than the less Manichean Wilson. In addition, Blair had fashioned a closed advisory system which insulated him from the opposition of most of the foreign policy bureaucracy to the war, whereas the Wilson administration operated through more open procedures. Consequently, my conclusion is that a combination of domestic politics and leadership style best accounts for the difference in outcomes in British decision making on Vietnam and Iraq. The paper will be of interest to those working in foreign policy analysis and decision making, the U.S. - U.K. relationship, and alliance dynamics generally.

by zoe on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:29:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FOLLOW THE MONEY. Oil has had excessive profits in which no credible politician in either America or the UK has promoted a windfall profits tax on the oil cos.

The military industrial complex in both countries will have to replace all the hardware and devise new hardware for the war.

If you believe the nonsense cited by Blair,the Tories and Co for the war; you then have to believe all the good fortune which came oil's way was just a coincidental bi product of the war and wasn't the main motivating factor for invading Iraq. Regardless of the oil revenues from the Iraq fields, the oil companies will eventually share; the price of oil has been raised from a pre invasion average of $30 per barrel to an average of $60 since.

by An American in London on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 03:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that he has a high belief in his ability to control events, a low conceptual complexity, and a high need for power

and how many politicians does this not fit?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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