The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful dialogue of European and international issues. You are invited to post comments and your own articles.
Please REGISTER to post.
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.
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Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript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.
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.
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.
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 Frank Schnittger - Sep 24 2 comments
by Oui - Sep 19 19 comments
by Oui - Sep 13 35 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Sep 11 5 comments
by Cat - Sep 13 9 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Sep 2 2 comments
by Oui - Sep 304 comments
by Oui - Sep 29
by Oui - Sep 28
by Oui - Sep 276 comments
by Oui - Sep 2618 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Sep 242 comments
by Oui - Sep 1919 comments
by gmoke - Sep 173 comments
by Oui - Sep 153 comments
by Oui - Sep 15
by Oui - Sep 1411 comments
by Oui - Sep 1335 comments
by Cat - Sep 139 comments
by Oui - Sep 127 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Sep 115 comments
by Oui - Sep 929 comments
by Oui - Sep 713 comments
by Oui - Sep 61 comment
by Frank Schnittger - Sep 22 comments
by gmoke - Sep 2